Why your ‘organic’ milk may not be organic - The Washington Post
The “USDA Organic” seal that appears on food packaging — essentially a USDA guarantee of quality — was created by federal rules in 2000.
Until then, convincing customers that a product was “organic” could be a murky proposition — everyone relied on informal definitions of organic and informal measures of trust.
The “#USDA_Organic” seal changed that, standardizing concepts and setting rules. It has proved a boon: Organic food sales rose from about $6 billion annually in 2000 to $40 billion in 2015, according to the Organic Trade Association.
The integrity of the new label, however, rested on an unusual system of inspections.
Under organic rules, the USDA typically does not inspect farms. Instead, farmers hire their own inspectors from lists of private companies and other organizations licensed by the #USDA. An inspector makes an annual visit, arranged days or weeks in advance. Only 5 percent of inspections are expected to be done unannounced.