beach_and_pier_-_2200x270_-_with_npr_and_cal_lu_1.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Organic Farmers Divided over Synthetics

Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter, here at the company's soy milk factory
Greg Allen, NPR
/
Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter, here at the company's soy milk factory
Jim Wedeberg's Organic Valley co-op farm in Gays Mills, Wis.
Greg Allen, NPR /
/
Jim Wedeberg's Organic Valley co-op farm in Gays Mills, Wis.

Organic foods, once specialty items found in co-ops and health food stores, have long since entered the mainstream. What started as a movement is now an established and fast-growing sector of the food business.

All of this change is creating tensions and rifts, most recently over how many synthetics can be used in food labeled "organic." Earlier this year, a federal court ruling severely limited the use of synthetic substances in organic food. But then Congress stepped in, adding a rider to an agriculture spending bill that allowed organic food makers to resume using a long list of synthetics.

But some, such as George Siemon of the Organic Valley farm co-op in Wisconsin, believe that the ruling threatened the industry's continued growth. Others, such as Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter, believe Congress' move is bad for organic businesses and consumers.

With nearly 40 percent of Americans now buying organic food, and sales projected to reach $30 billion by 2007, clearly there's a lot riding on what exactly the label "organic" means.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.