Organic fraud confirmed [again]

2 min readJul 2, 2022

An industry rife with misinformation, grifting credulous consumers

I didn’t expect to be writing a piece today. It’s a long weekend in the US, and I was going to kick back and relax after heading out to Neighborhood Produce to buy some food. But then I thought: other people might be on their way out to make some purchases for the holiday too — grilling up some veggies, and making some salads….And they should remember that organic grifting and misinformation is a major problem. Save your money for legitimate good causes. Organic food is not one of them.

Spurred by a Reddit conversation on consumer protection and facts, we were discussing organic farming. A commenter suggested that protecting farm workers from pesticides was a reason to buy organic. This is not true — not only does organic production include pesticides, but the IARC notes that being in the sun is also carcinogenic and hand weeding in the sun is not good for those performing underpaid backbreaking agricultural work.

But yet another scandal about “organic” inputs has been confirmed. The huge amount of fraud in this marketing scam is astonishing. I covered it recently here:

Although I updated that piece, I realize most people won’t know about this outcome, quietly released before a holiday weekend and not covered by any media outlets who love to cover other pesticides, oddly.

Short version: an outfit selling “organic” inputs was fined and spanked for selling a remarkable product — it actually worked. Organic farmers were happy:

Schreiber says he was studying the organic substance and its uses because it was so effective. Organic growers were fond of it.

Wow — what about this product was working? It turns out it contained actual science.

Why did organic farmers love it? Because it worked.

SACRAMENTO, June 28, 2022 — The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program and California State Organic Program today announced that a penalty of $1.89 million has been issued to Agro…


Mary Mangan PhD is a genomics scientist, with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and and molecular biology.