The Organic Trade Association (OTA) said its full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday is “an aggressive push-back against misleading and derogatory attacks on organic with the straight facts about organic.”
The ad, running in the WSJ’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore regional edition, is titled “Here’s a long list of chemicals you should never have to read,” and calls out the hundreds of chemicals prohibited in organic production and processing.
The move comes after the OTA said last month that the WSJ should be ashamed for allowing a “campaign of deception” against organics to continue by publishing an op-ed titled “The Organic Industry is Lying to You,” written by pro-GMO advocate Henry Miller, the founding director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. In his commentary, Miller said the organic food industry was rife with “blatantly false and deceptive advertising claims.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb subsequently released a series of tweets concurring with the misinformation and pledging to review organic labeling claims. “In coming weeks I’m going to put out more detailed information on what different terms mean on food packaging, to help consumers best use claims like organic, antibiotic free, etc,” Gottlieb tweeted.
“It is the mission of the Organic Trade Association to protect and promote organic, and it is our responsibility to get the facts out. It’s critically important to push back against these attacks,” said Laura Batcha, OTA CEO. “Consumers deserve to know the truth. Organic’s strength is its transparency, and organic farmers and businesses work hard every day to uphold the standards of organic and to honor the trust that we’ve earned from consumers everywhere. We will not let these charges go unanswered.”
The WSJ’s circulation for the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region is nearly 51,000. A full-page, black-and-white ad for the regional edition is $21,000 at the non-contract rate.
The ad also shows the website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, which identifies the synthetic substances that may be used in organics and the non-synthetic (natural) substances that may not be used in organic crop and livestock production. The list also identifies a limited number of non-organic substances that may be used in or on processed organic products.
All substances on the National List undergo a five-year review process by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the 15-member panel of experts recommending policy to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), to confirm they continue to meet required criteria.
Click on the graphic below to view the OTA ad.