Wal-Mart Accused of Faking Organics

When Wal-Mart announced plans to double its offering of organic products (see "High-Volume Organic: Should We Applaud When Wal-Mart Goes Crunchy?" Currents, September/ October 2006) the organic community responded with mixed feelings. Now skeptics have new ammunition, because the Cornucopia Institute has filed a legal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture accusing Wal-Mart of selling non-organic food products as organic.

This Stonyfield yogurt on sale at Wal-Mart is "all-natural," but is it "organic?"

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic farming watchdog, says it first encountered Wal-Mart’s misrepresentation at an upscale-market test store in Plano, Texas. More violations were found and documented in stores across the Midwest. Last September, the Institute wrote a letter to Wal-Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott, notifying him of the problem and asking that it be addressed immediately.

When the same mislabeling of non-organic food as organic continued through October in multiple states, the Cornucopia Institute filed its complaint with USDA. CONTACT: The Cornucopia Institute, (608)625-2042, www.cornucopia.org.

—Shannon Huecker