Less than two weeks from now, the National Organics Standards Board will vote on whether fish exposed to mercury and toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), or fish raised in environmentally damaging farms, can wear the organic label.
The board is voting on two separate issues that would affect the legitimacy of the organic label. One is the question of whether it’s legitimate to label fish “organic” if their diets are made up of wild fish. While the term “wild” might sound exotic and aesthetically pleasing, the reality is that many wild fish come from polluted waters and contain toxic levels of mercury and PCBs. When “organic” fish eat these wild fish, they absorb these same toxins. Selling such toxic fish under the organic label is completely inappropriate, and destroys the meaning of “organic” altogether.
The second issue up for discussion is whether or not fish raised in open ocean net pens can be labeled “organic.” Ocean net pens like those used to farm salmon, if not designed and regulated properly (and most are not), create an exorbitant amount of waste and disease which pollutes their surrounding environments and ecosystems. This too is inappropriate: by definition, organic production should not pollute, but should be sustainable and advantageous to the environment.
The agency at ConsumersUnion.org has a petition out to protect the high standards that organic labeling demands. Click here to sign this petition, and keep organic food pollutant-free!