From my inbox today:
Action Needed to Safeguard Organic Standards
May 10, 2006
It’s time to act fast!
The USDA has announced a very short public comment period (ends May 12, 2006) on a proposal to amend the National Organic Program (read the proposal here) in a manner that would weaken organic standards. The USDA's actions were requested by a very small handful of members of Congress. Take action now and tell the USDA you support strong organic standards!
This legislative backroom deal was born in November 2005 during a late-night, Republican-only session consisting of a few conference committee members who voted to adopt the proposed amendment after congressional negotiators from both sides had adjourned.
In 2006, the amendment resurfaced as a last-minute attachment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, thereby avoiding full congressional debate on the content of the amendment. The Appropriations Bill, along with its riders, passed despite over 350,000 letters and phone calls from consumers, farmers, retailers, processors, and other concerned citizens and organizations to their congressional representatives. At the time of its passage, a number of Congressional representatives made statements condemning both the undemocratic process and substance of this change to the organic law.
After 35 years of hard work, the U.S. organic community has built a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture.
Now the USDA is proposing to amend the National Organic Program regulations to reflect these legislative changes made in Congress – with very little time allowed for public comment.
The USDA proposal could allow:
Young dairy cows to be treated with antibiotics and fed genetically engineered feed prior to being converted to organic production.
Numerous synthetic substances, including over 500 food contact substances, to be used in organic foods without public review and approval by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
TELL USDA TO KEEP THE ORGANIC LABEL TRUTHFUL. COMMENTS MUST BE RECEIVED BY MAY 12!
"Congress voted to weaken the national organic standards that consumers count on to preserve the integrity of the organic label," said Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. "The process was profoundly undemocratic and the end result is a serious setback for the multi billion dollar alternative food and farming system that the organic community has so painstakingly built up over the past 35 years.
It’s easy to take action. Click on one or all of these links for streamlined action links and more information.
Organic Consumers Association: has fill-in action link
The Center for Food Safety: has fill-in action link
Consumers Union: has fill-in action link Additional in-depth background and report on the issues, and comment information: National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture: has “click here” action link.