October 12, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — California consumers are sure to be less confused and misled by the indiscriminate use of the “organic” label on fish and seafood as the result of a new California law, recently signed by Governor Schwarzenegger and supported by Consumers Union. The new law prohibits the use of the “organic” label on fish and seafood until such time as either the federal or California state government establishes organic standards for fish and seafood.
While there are federal organic standards and verification in place for other food including meat, produce, milk, cheese, and eggs, the federal government has not yet established organic certification standards for fish and seafood. Until that happens, the “organic” label on fish and seafood sold throughout the U.S. means very little and does not necessarily conform to the same standards that consumers have come to expect when purchasing other organic labeled food such as meat and produce.
“Organic” labeled fish and seafood are not necessarily produced more environmentally sound, can contain significant levels of contaminants such as PCBs and mercury, and may not be worth the greater prices often charged for them, said Elisa Odabashian, policy analyst with the West Coast Office of Consumers Union .
“The rogue use of the ‘organic’ label on fish and seafood without the establishment of a state or national standard is an unauthentic use of that term and undermines the trust that consumers have come to place in other ‘organic’ labeled foods,” Odabashian said. “These truly organic foods have had consistent and verified standards established independently, by the government, and with public input.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Elisa Odabashian, (415) 431-6747