October 6, 2005
The organic consumers community needs your immediate help to stop Congress and the Bush administration from seriously degrading organic standards. After 35 years of hard work, the U.S. organic community has built up a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture, based upon strict organic standards and organic community control over modification to these standards.
Now, large corporations such as Kraft/Phillip Morris, Dean Foods/Horizon Organic/Whitewave, Dole, Smucker/Knudson’s, General Mills/Small Planet, Danone/Stonyfield, Aurora Organic, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and the Grocery Manufacturers of America (Wal-Mart and the supermarket chains)–aided and abetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)–are moving to lower organic standards by allowing a Bush appointee to create a list of synthetic ingredients that would be allowed in organic production. Even worse these proposed regulatory changes will reduce future public discussion and input and take away the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) traditional lead jurisdiction in setting standards. What this means is that USDA bureaucrats and industry lobbyists, not consumers, will now have more control over what can go into organic foods and products.
Over the past week, Organic Consumers Association (OCA) network members have deluged the U.S. congress with over 90,000 emails and over 15,000 telephone calls. This nearly unprecedented grassroots upsurge has temporarily rattled Congress and the industry, delaying the initial sneak attack in the Senate on organic standards, resulting in a compromise amendment (H.R. 2744) September 21 calling for “further study of the issue.”
Unfortunately another, possibly even more serious, sneak attack in the House/Senate Conference Committee is expected over the next week as Congressional members put the final wording together for the 2006 Congressional Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Therefore, OCA is now calling on consumers and the organic community to apply pressure to their House of Representatives members as well as their Senators to stop the Conference Committee from degrading the standards. In addition we urge everyone to start applying pressure to the Organic Trade Association, who is unfortunately spearheading this sneak attack.
To contact your members of Congress and learn more about this issue, please go to the following link:
The Organic Trade Association can be reached at (413) 774-7511.