Report Calls for Organic Shift
A new food-safety report is underlining the need for increased supports to grow organic food production.
The study revealed some store-brand foods produced and sold by Albertson's, Costco, Kroger and Walmart contain residues of toxic pesticides.
Kendra Klein with Friends of the Earth, said the findings illustrate why consumers are increasingly turning to organic foods.
"There are over 900 active pesticide ingredients that are allowed in conventional agriculture and many of them have been linked to very serious health problems and environmental problems," Klein said. "So, it's imperative that we shift to an organic food system."
Klein said the study examined the four retailers because they control more than one-third of all food and beverage sales in the U.S.
"This is important for these stores to know that they actually have the purchasing power, the economic power to create changes, to create a healthier supply chain," she said. "Store-brand supply chains are what the companies have greatest control over."
And she contended the key to a healthy food supply are investments in organic agriculture.
"The growth of organic farms in the U.S. is not keeping pace with the booming consumer demand," Klein said. "So there's this huge opportunity that's being missed for U.S. farmers to transition to organic, but they need support to do that because it can be a challenging transition."
Sustainable farming organizations are calling for state and federal incentives for farmers to transition to organic production and limit the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.