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USDA Bans Organic Food Inspector In China Over Conflicts Of Interest

June 13, 2010: 02:02 AM EST

The USDA, which contracts with private organizations to inspect and certify organic foods worldwide, has disqualified a private American inspector in China because of conflict of interest issues. The agency said it will send an audit team to China to take a close look at the certification process there. The problem with the disqualified inspector, the Organic Crop Improvement Association, is that it hired employees of a government agency to check state-controlled farms and food processing facilities. The OCIA earlier this year shut down most of its operations. Consumers and organic food retailers have long suspected there were problems with purportedly organic foods imported from China. Whole Foods Market will soon stock only two private label organic items from China, down from 30 two years ago.

WILLIAM NEUMAN and DAVID BARBOZA, "U.S. Drops Inspector of Food in China", New York Times, June 13, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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