The Wal-Mart Effect on Organics: A Defense of Large-Scale Organic Production
38 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014 Last revised: 25 Sep 2014
Date Written: May 1, 2013
This article explores the advantages associated with the entrance of large corporate players in the marketplace for organic foods. The article proposes that while the rapid growth of the organic industry will present challenges for the National Organic Program ("NOP"), the advantages associated with large-scale organic production, including expanding organic food access to population groups previously unable to purchase organics and lowering cost premiums, exceed such drawbacks. Since "diluted" or "lower-quality" varieties of organic foods contain on average fewer pesticides and contaminants than conventional products, the spread of low-cost organics will help to lower pesticide exposure in at-risk and lower-income populations, who often have no choice but to buy conventional foods. Given that cost and price-sensitivity remain major factors hindering organic purchases, the recent corporate interest in developing and retailing organic items may be the impetus the organic industry needs after all. Though concerns of contamination and sub-optimal agricultural practices will likely continue, bolstering and refining NOP policies can help ensure that organics retain their quality and integrity in large-scale agricultural settings.
Keywords: Environmental Law, Organic Food Production, Agricultural Law
JEL Classification: G00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation