Nature’s Path Foods, North America’s largest organic breakfast company, says it is resigning from US trade body the Organic Trade Association (OTA) as an “act of protest”.
The Canadian company says its decision is in response to what it sees as a dilution of core organic principles as the OTA. In a statement, it accuses the OTA of “shifting its commitment from supporting and representing the core principles of the organic food movement, to begin pushing a non-organic agenda which threatens the future of organic”.
Nature’s Path cites the OTA’s position on high profile policy issues – in particular its backing for “a vague and misleading national GMO labelling law” and for “allowing for hydroponics to fall under the organic certification label” – as central to its decision to part company with the OTA.
“Our departure from the OTA is an act of protest to raise awareness of our concern that the important role organic plays to support the health of consumers and our planet is being compromised,” says Nature’s Path founder and co-CEO Arran Stephens. “We believe giant food corporations, that also happen to own small organic brands, use the OTA to influence policy decisions to protect the best interest of their large, non-organic food portfolios.”
“We believe giant food corporations, that also happen to own small organic brands, use the OTA to influence policy decisions to protect the best interest of their large, non-organic food portfolios”
As one of the first certified organic companies in North America and a founder of Organic Merchants in 1971, a predecessor of the OTA, Nature’s Path says it will “continue its investment to support the vitality and future of the organic food movement”.
“We are committed to rebuilding what we believe is lost, by being a strong voice to ensure that organic continues to change food and agriculture for the better,” says Stephens. “From using our social channels to raise awareness and action, to investing in research, farmers and organic associations that closer reflect our vision for organic, we will publicly work to protect and enhance the health of both people and planet.”
In a statement given to just-food.com, the OTA’s CEO and executive director Laura Batcha, said: “The Organic Trade Association’s only agenda is organic, and we work every day to represent the interests of all of our members. She addded: “No single group does or has done more than OTA on these fronts.”
Photo: Executive top team at family-owned organic pioneer brand Nature’s Path