When Miles McEvoy became Deputy Administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) he set out to do something in the Obama administration that Science 2.0 long had called for, and Consumers Union had been calling for a decade before us; spot field testing of organic food so their customers could be certain that the prohibited substances and excluded methods that marketers advertise in their process were actually not being used.

Or not. § 205.670 ended up being only a few samples required, and the responsibility for testing fell to organic certification groups. In other words, groups could inspect 5 percent of their clients, the corporations who were paying them for the label. Sales volume did not matter in a Big Food segment that is over $30 billion just in the United States. So instead of real food safety testing like conventional food has we mostly still just have farmers filling out paperwork and checking off boxes, with certifying groups cashing checks to say they believe them. Do I think organic farmers are less ethical than regular farmers? No, but organic farmers pay trade groups to insinuate just that about their competition, and if you think everyone else is a criminal, psychologists will bet you are a criminal.

Does that mean organic food is not safe? As Chipotle recently showed, and hundreds of dead people in Europe showed a few years ago, being certified organic actually increases your chances of eating a fecal pathogen, but when we are talking about relative and absolute risk, and you need not worry about any American food, conventional or alternative, if you wash your food. And you should wash your food, because of bacteria.

Yet organic trade groups and their allies ignore bacteria left on produce by manure and instead focus on modern chemicals. They ignore concern about legacy compounds that are far more toxic, like copper sulfate.  They are paid by their clients to dupe the public into believing if their trade group representative sitting on a panel at the National Organic Standards Board deems a chemical "organic", it is inherently safe.

Of course, that is not true. And it is certainly not true if the organic food is imported. 

Organic is a label, and a miracle of marketing. That they have convinced 80 percent of their customers that organic food does not even have DNA is simultaneously capitalism at its best and worst. But no matter what you believe it is, an organic label does not mean your food is any safer.