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More Organic Food Deception by Wal-Mart

Wisconsin consumer fraud investigators have released the findings of a three-month investigation into Wal-Mart's alleged practice of misidentifying conventional food items as organic.

The investigation, run by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, found many instances of conventional food products improperly labeled as organic, in violation of Wisconsin state statutes.

Wisconsin regulators sent only a formal warning to the retail giant, and said that they had reached an agreement with the company under which steps would be taken to prevent future misrepresentations. Wisconsin officials said that they would continue their surveillance of Wal-Mart stores.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organization dedicated to preserving organic standards, has a photo gallery on its Web page showing conventional food products that were priced and labeled as organic foods in Wal-Mart stores.

Yahoo News May 8, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

I warned readers a few months ago how Wal-Mart promotes a substandard and distorted image of organic foods. Obviously, consumer fraud investigators in Wisconsin agree. Among the products Wal-Mart deceptively labeled as organic were Silk Soy Milk, Florida Crystals Natural Sugar, and various produce items.

This isn't the first report about Wal-Mart blurring the line between conventional and organics for the sake of profits either. The USDA has identified numerous incidents of fraudulent labeling in five states, including Minnesota and Texas.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin regulators merely slapped Wal-Mart's wrists. And, while the USDA has been well aware of the problems experienced in Wisconsin since November, they have yet to issue any rulings.

Wal-Mart has a major history of abusive practices, as has been brilliantly documented in the movie Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Wal-Mart's entry into the organic food market will increase the substitution of inferior, factory-farmed products for true organic food. This will be especially true if they start outsourcing food from China, where organic enforcement standards are close to non-existent.

Last year, Wal-Mart pledged they will become the major retailer of organic foods. With tactics like these and lax oversight, that may become a reality sooner than later -- although more accurately, they will be the major retailer of "organic" foods.

As always, the best choice for your health is to seek out locally grown, healthier, and safer sources for your foods.

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