you can now sue over organic labels in california

posted December 11, 2015

If I’m going to spend extra on organic produce and products, they better well be fully organic. We’re talking pesticide-free, earth-friendly, non-synthetic organic here. If I get a product labeled organic that doesn’t meet those standards, I’m going to feel cheated.

And, as of today, I could sue. In an opinion released today, the California Supreme Court ruled that consumers can sue over “misrepresentations in labeling,” when products are misleadingly labeled as organic.

Organic or Just Sort of Organic?

The California Supreme Court’s ruling came after Herby Thyme Farms, one of the largest herb growers in California, was accused of mixing organic and conventionally grown herbs in the same package and selling them under a “fresh organic” label.

A class action against the growers alleged that consumers were lead to believe that the herbs were 100 percent organic when they were not — and they paid a premium for that organic designation. Lead plaintiff Michelle Quesada sued Herb Thyme under California’s unfair competition and false advertising laws.

(more…)


great listen: farming without labels

posted July 9, 2015

To listen to the radio piece, click HERE!

Who is a good farmer? This question of goodness has been important to the popularization of the sustainable food movement. However, consumer evaluations of so-called goodness has become increasingly reliant on labels––“Organic,” “Locally-grown,” “Certified Humane,” “GMO-Free,” the list goes on. But when these labels can be co-opted by large-scale producers, do they retain any meaning? Is the certified organic beef from the supermarket a better choice than the not-certified beef sold by a local farmer at the farmers’ markets? Intuition seems to tell us no but Shizue RocheAdachi (SHE-zoo-eh r-OH-ch a-da-chee), a student at Yale University, decided to put a story to the question and headed out to Morris, Connecticut to talk to a farmer who’s forgoing the labels.

Click here to find out more about Truelove Farms