The U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned one of the biggest food inspector groups in the nation from operating in China, reports the New York Times, because of conflict of interest concerns. It turns out the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) was using employees of a Chinese government agency to inspect Chinese government-owned farms, which sort of misses the point of independent certification entirely. [More]
If you want a good deal on a high-end bottle of wine, a new study suggests you should look for wines that clearly indicate they’re made from organic grapes. An economics professor and an environmental science Ph.D. candidate compared wines made with certified organically grown grapes to conventional wines, looking at both price and taste rankings, and found that the organic ones scored on average one point higher on Wine Spectator’s rankings. For some reason, telling that to consumers seems to devalue the wine: high-scoring bottles that advertised their organic nature sold for less at retail, while bottles that withheld this info scored just as high on taste but also were priced higher than average. [More]
Your new washer, dryer, fridge, monitor, or TV set may have an Energy Star label on it, but it turns out that nobody is making sure that means anything, reports the New York Times. Our parent organization Consumer Reports pointed out that this was a problem a year ago.