Food imported by air may lose organic certification in Britain

Foods imported into Britain by airplane may not qualify as organic if the country’s main certification body has its druthers. On Friday, the Soil Association announced it will spend a year considering a proposal to factor flight distance into its organic standards. While it will ponder different labeling options, fair-trade schemes, and carbon offsets, Director Patrick Holden says there is “a pretty strong chance” that the association will end up giving the boot to flown-in foods. The Soil Association certifies more than 70 percent of organic produce sold in Britain; Holden shrugs off the possibility of losing business, saying, “[I]f the Soil Association believes that it is in the public interest that standards must be raised, then it has a responsibility to act even at the risk of losing market share.” Doth our cynical ears deceive us? Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the U.S. FDA has come to a tentative conclusion that cloned meat can be labeled organic. Back so soon, cynicism?