WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Agriculture Department has banned a leading American inspector of organic foods in China because of conflicts of interest.
The Organic Crop Improvement Association of Nebraska used Chinese government employees to inspect farms and food processing facilities that are state-controlled.
Some of the products inspected by the association were used to manufacture store brand products for Whole Foods Market, the largest organic U.S. retailer. A spokeswoman for Whole Foods said the grocer dropped the association last year.
The decision to ban the food inspectors follows consumers' shaken confidence about the safety of food and other products exported from China.
The story was first reported Monday by The New York Times.