“Organic” feedlot dairy owned by one of CCOF’s major donors

Federal regulations governing organic certifiers seem to be quite clear:

7 USC 6515: Any certifying agent shall not: 

(2) accept payment, gifts, or favors of any kind from the business inspected other than prescribed fees; [emphasis added] 

Our research has documented hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions, sponsorships, and payments for advertising from major corporate agribusinesses certified by CCOF. Our investigation focused on the most recent five-year period that records were available. Other documents indicate some of the same corporate donors may have, in aggregate, contributed millions to CCOF over the last few decades.

Many legacy certifiers read the law governing organics and refuse to certify hydroponic (soilless) produce production and livestock factories, whereas others, such as CCOF — possibly the largest NGO operating in the domestic organic industry with revenues of approximately $27 million per annum — are more than happy to financially benefit from the industrialization of organic farming. 

Our investigation examined the sources of their revenue, as well as documented conflicts of interest, in trying to explain the juxtaposition between the established reputations of some certifiers and their policies that are economically injuring family-scale organic farmers.

Please click here to review the updated legal complaint.