Why I volunteered to serve on an OTA Task Force

OTA’s Fiber Council convened a task force of members in September to address the very heart of misleading organic claims and prepare comments on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Organic Program (NOP) joint consumer survey. The survey focused on consumers’ perception of false claims on non-food products, namely textiles and body care products.

I live and breathe textile certification so I was a willing volunteer to the False Claims Task Force. I work as the coordinator for the Fiber and Textile Program at Oregon Tilth. We are accredited to the Global Organic Textile Standard, the only one that inspects all the manufacturing steps of the textile supply chain. False claims in textiles can mislead consumers and impact our certified operations.

For me, the appeal of participating in a task force is being part of a determined band of like-minded organic “doers.” Like characters in a Marvel comic, we each have a super power that contributed to sound reasoning and action-oriented solutions, in this case, presented to the FTC/NOP group. Some of us specialize in research, others analyze survey results, one was even chosen by the FTC to sit on the panel and present the OTA’s survey findings. Even though there was little chance of public comment at the actual Roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 20, more than a dozen of us flew from across the U.S. to attend and support OTA’s position on guidance in the labeling of organic textiles and body care products.

At some point in your career in organic, there will be a call for an OTA task force that fits your special interest, the topic that keeps you up at night and you wish you could advocate more strongly for. I hope you heed the call and use your super power to improve all sectors of the organic industry. Your participation is the backbone of our Organic Trade Association.

Angela Wartes-Kahl