Wal-Mart agrees to redesign organic shelf tags

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. agreed to redesign the green shelf tags bearing the title "Wal-Mart Organics" following the completion of a compliance review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Wal-Mart will remove all "Wal-Mart Organics" shelf tags and instead use the U.S.D.A. organic seal as shelf information.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, filed complaints with the U.S.D.A. and state of Wisconsin regulators over Wal-Mart’s organic labels.

The U.S.D.A.’s A.M.S. determined the "Wal-Mart Organics" shelf tags in some stores had the potential to confuse customers. The A.M.S. directed Wal-Mart to address the manner in which the shelf tags were used to advertise products that were not certified organic The A.M.S. found no evidence any product certified as U.S.D.A. organic was mislabeled.

The A.M.S. review concluded Wal-Mart violated neither the Organic Foods Production Act nor the U.S.D.A.’s National Organic Program (N.O.P.) regulations. The A.M.S. also concluded there was no violation of the N.O.P. regulations when U.S.D.A. certified organic products were on the same shelves as brand name conventional counterparts and that no N.O.P. regulation violations occurred when an organic shelf tag for a certified organic product inadvertently or mistakenly was placed or shifted in front of a non-organic item.

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