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Organic Insider Spreads Disinformation, CCOF Responds

by Kelly Damewood |

Organic Insider, a self-proclaimed organic newsletter and aggregator, published false and misleading information about CCOF on Feb 7th, 2024. The publication refused to take a statement from CCOF over the phone and did not present any independent research to verify their allegations. CCOF is a proud and trusted leader in the organic movement, and we feel it is necessary to protect the reputation of organic certification and the integrity of thousands of hardworking certified farmers and producers from those who either purposely or naively spread disinformation. 

CCOF is a mid-size nonprofit organization with over 50 years of organic certification expertise. We undergo annual independent financial audits and maintain strict compliance with all USDA conflict of interest and impartiality requirements. CCOF Certification Services, LLC is audited annually by ANSI(ANAB), CAEQ, and Senasica. The USDA National Organic Program audits us every 2.5 years. We also hire a third party to conduct annual internal audits of our quality systems to ensure impartiality and adherence to all certification requirements. We are highly transparent about our structure, financial model, programs, and services to organic producers. 

CCOF was founded and continues to be guided by the organic producers we serve. CCOF’s structure was created by founding CCOF farmers to ensure representation of organic producer voices and to protect organic integrity. We have thoroughly reviewed our structure with legal advisors and the USDA understands our structure. Multi-entity organizations are a common and healthy business practice. 

Despite our transparency and sound business practices, Organic Insider published unfounded claims by Organic Eye

CCOF reached out to Organic Insider requesting the opportunity to speak about the false allegations before publication. Organic Insider refused to speak to CCOF by phone and instead insisted that CCOF provide documentation to refute the unverified claims and accusations. CCOF advised that it is a journalist’s responsibility to independently verify facts; it is not CCOF’s duty to refute unverified claims. We view Organic Insider’s refusal to speak with us as inappropriate and unprofessional journalism practices. We have never experienced a legitimate journalist refusing to speak to an organization they are publishing allegations against. 

CCOF takes the spread of disinformation seriously and is reviewing legal action to stop this unexpected attack on a mission-driven organization that serves organic producers. We remain rooted in our core values of integrity, courage, community, and representation of and for organic producers. We are always open to dialogue with any organic community member who seeks to understand CCOF’s structure.