STORY — OCA ALERT UPDATE:
Thanks to all of you who joined thousands of organic consumers
in late May and signed OCA’s petition to the USDA opposing the
agency’s latest "Sneak Attack" to allow 38 new non-organic
ingredients in products labeled as "USDA Organic". (Read
full petition here: http://organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5225.cfm)
controversial proposal to allow 38 new non-organic ingredients
in products labeled as "organic" has fueled the anger
of organic consumers and generated a backlash of negative press
coast to coast. Over the weekend the New York Times and the L.A.
Times (as well as a number of other major news outlets) ran feature
stories on the debacle.
New York Times noted that the mega-brewer Anheuser-Busch pressured
the USDA into allowing them to use hops grown with pesticides
and chemical fertilizers in their "Organic Wild Hop Lager"
beer. In the Los Angeles Times, Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s National
Director, was quoted as saying, "This proposal is blatant
catering to powerful industry players who want the benefits of
labeling their products ‘USDA organic’ without doing the work
to source organic materials."
industry was given the better part of two years to work with the
USDA in developing this proposal, the agency only gave the public
a brief 7-day comment period. During that short time, the OCA
generated over 8,000 petition signatures telling the USDA to back
off on allowing non-organic hops, factory-farmed animal intestines,
tainted fish oil, and other problematic ingredients in organic
Friday June 8, the USDA took its third swing at organic standards
and struck out, violating federal law by refusing to respond to
a federal court order to stop allowing companies to use the 38
non-organic ingredients proposed for inclusion in products labeled
"USDA Organic". Unprepared for the firestorm of protest
against their latest Sneak Attack, the USDA has been refusing
to talk to the press.
HISTORY OF USDA ORGANIC LAWBREAKING
January 2005 (Strike One): Federal court rules that the
USDA has violated federal regulations in allowing conventional
and synthetic ingredients in products labeled as "organic".
2007 (Strike Two): After heavy lobbying from industry, USDA
proposed to allow 38 conventionally grown ingredients in foods
labeled as organic. One of those ingredients, fish oil, has never
undergone review, which is a violation of federal law.
2007 (Strike Three): A federal judge had given the USDA until
midnight Friday (6/8) to post its final ruling, which the agency
failed to do.
HELP IS STILL NEEDED
We need to put a lot more pressure on the USDA, demanding they
re-open the public comment period on this issue. Industry was
given two years, and the public was only given 7 days. Through
that process, it appears the organic standards will be significantly
weakened unless we can generate enough comments to force the USDA
to reconsider its proposal to weaken organic standards.
forward this email to all interested friends and colleagues and
send a letter to the USDA here: http://organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5225.cfm