Organic Standards are in Jeopardy!
Food First (Institute for Food and Development
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing regulations
to the 1990 Organic Food Production Act that would undermine the
basic tenets of organic farming and allow the use of hazardous
substances and processes in organic food production.
Problems with the Proposed National Organic Standards:
Irradiation (Ionizing Radiation)
Irradiation is the process of using ionizing radiation to
kill food born pathogens. It can actually create new chemicals
in food (radiolytic products) including cancer-causing benzene
and formaldehyde. It destroys essential vitamins and nutrients
and uses a waste by-product of nuclear weapons and nuclear power
plants. Sewage sludge (Big-solids)
Bio-solids is another name for the sludge coming from municipal
sewage facilities. This is a toxic soup of human, residential,
industrial and hospital waste, as well as runoff from lawns, streets
and farmlands. It can include heavy metals (cadmium and lead),
synthetic chemicals, including pesticides and PCBs, detergents,
pathogens and even radioactive waste. These chemicals can cause
a variety of health impacts from cancer to neurological and hormone
damage. Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs)
Genetic engineering of plants and other living things is an
unproved technology without sufficient scientific data to document
the long-term impacts of GEOs on the environment or human health.
Some GEOs contain unnatural traits that could spread to related
species through crossbreeding.
Under the proposed regulations toxic chemicals would be allowed
in organic food production including some that are possible human
carcinogens or cause other adverse health effects. Some of these
toxic chemicals would be allowed as 'inert' ingredients in pesticides
approved for use in organic production.
The proposed regulations would prevent producers and manufacturers
from identifying products in the store based on production practices.
The kind of labels that would be prohibited include: "produced
without synthetic pesticides," "produced without synthetic
fertilizers," "raised without hormones" etc.
USDA's proposals would also prohibit private certifiers from
adhering to a higher standard, permit 20% non-organic feed in
organic dairy operations, and allow inhumane factory farm-style
living conditions for organic livestock.
The system as proposed by USDA is not organic farming. Rather,
it is an effort to dilute the integrity of the booming organic
industry which is based on tough standards and consumer trust,
in favor of powerful, non-organic corporate interest. Both CDFA
and USDA need to hear what you think of these proposals. Contact
your Congressperson and your Senators as well.