Between 1997 and 2002, the USDA drafted and implemented a National Organic Standard, an act that unified the disparate state by state regulations and unified certification under one umbrella. This move, while benefiting the consumer, by providing a universal labeling system for recognizing a product as organic, also opened the door for giant food manufacturers like Kraft, ConAgra and General Mills to enter this segment of the marketplace.

Phil Howard, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University, posited that this change would lead to greater consolidation in the organic food sector. He has created a number of telling graphics that illustrate the truth behind his initial thinking.

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