When's the last time we heard some good news about the products we're importing from China? We don't remember either, but it's going to be another day at least. The New York Times reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is getting rid of one of their organic food inspection organizations working in China. The U.S.D.A. regularly uses independent companies to ensure that foreign food products can actually be certified organic, but as of today, the Organic Crop Improvement Association (O.C.I.A.), based in Nebraska, is not one of them.
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The report tells us that the O.C.I.A. had "used employees of a Chinese government agency to inspect state-controlled farms and food processing facilities." This is troubling news, unless of course you think that the best people to inspect government-run Chinese farms are the Chinese government. One of the big U.S. companies to use Chinese organics is Whole Foods, though they have dramatically decreased their patronage in recent years, and by the end of the current year will stock only frozen shelled and un-shelled edamame from China.