According to the US Agriculture Department, 400,000 metric tons of organic corn was shipped to the US in 2016 (3 times more than 2015). Key suppliers to American organic food companies include Ukraine, Argentina, Romania and India. Organic products are produced without synthetic pesticides, genetically engineered seeds and certain fertilizers. According to Spins LLC, USDA certified organic food sales in 2016 went up 10% and conventional grocery sales had a 0.7% increase. The Organic Trade Association states that 2015 sales were $39.7 billion for that were 70% organic or more. The Organic Trade Association represents American organic food companies and organic food farmers.
However, American organic farmers blame “foreign grain” for the decreased prices of American organic corn (30%) and organic soybeans (20%). American organic farmers believe that organic foods coming from foreign countries don’t follow US organic standards and commit fraud. The US now wants authorities to ramp up the inspections of organic operations in foreign countries and to provide more support for American organic farmers. USDA officials say that all organic operations are held to the same standards, but the agency is investigating the complaints and discussing new requirements to tighten oversight. The agency plans to require certificates for all organic imports from a commodity traders that also has to have a certification under the USDA program.
Farming groups are also pleading the USDA to aid domestic farmers to transition into going organic.