The complaint against the Thai organic producer N.N.
We have disappointing experiences when it comes to the effects of a complaint. ( See: Spain and Portugal) Also: if one files a complait it should give the exact location of the fraud and the kind of fraud. This makes a cover-up easy. On the other hand: by now all traces of the treated seeds were washed away, so it would not harm anymore. The positive reason for filing a complaint was: let’s see what action the certifiers will take. And: will the product from this NN keep coming to Europe ?
We filed at two organisations because at that time it was not clear who was responsable for certification of NN. On the product of NN we find the Soil Association label, but SA uses a Thai controller/certifier named ACT to control the fields of NN. This ACT is accredited by the IFOAM daughter IOAS. As a matter of fact: it would IOAS take untill august 2006 to find out who was really responsable for the controle of NN !! (See : second and third letter form IOAS, below)
Our complaint is against a large and powerful company whose organic turnover in 2003 was about 2 million dollar. We would not like it if they would claim a lot of money for damage done by this website. Therefore we have replaced their name by NN. Of course ACT and IOAS and SA (Soil Association) are also ‘exposed’ in their ways of working, but they fulfill a public function where thrust and integrity is essential. Their ways of working should be transparant and public. They cannot object to publication, we think. (IOAS objects to our qualifications ‘naive’ and ‘inadequate’ etc. We hope that a judge eventually agrees with us.)
The first reaction from IOAS can be read below. We received it as an email with an adobe attachment. As we had to make it anonimous ( NN) and put it on the website it was changed to a html file.
This first reaction of IOAS ’s Dr. David Crucefix is a fair reaction to my complaint. I can agree with it.
In this second letter IOAS tries to attack my complaint. Which is of course the first thing that comse to mind in aan organisation that earns his living by guaranteeing that people who pay for organic will indeed receive organic: attack the one that informs you about your mistakes. First mr Crucefix triesto explain who is tesponsable for the controle at NN. (Only in his third letter this will be clear.) Then he tries to explain why they use Thai controllers. After that he tells us that maybe it is legal to use treated seeds. Then he tells me that he has asked ACT to do the investigation at NN. Finally he tells us that Mr. Panyakul is a very honest Thai.
You can read our reply to all Mr. Crucefix’s statements here below:
On august 4 we received the last letter from IOAS.
The third (last) letter from IOAS
Does that mean that 50 % of their members are fraudulent ?
I spoke to quite a few certifiers, and all of them make use of local controllers. They find it OK to have confidence in these local controllers. The local controllers go to the farms and fill in the questionnaires. These lists are sent to England or Germany or Italy for instance ( Soil Association, BCS, BioAgriCert ) and there is decided weather the farms are really organic. IF the local controller would forget to check weather the seeds were treated with chemicals, and then decide to score ‘not treated’, no certifiers in Europe would ever find out, as they hardly ever see a field themselves.