Tell the National Organic Program: Get Gut-Wrenching Carrageenan Out of Organic!
Carrageenan, an additive commonly used in foods, including some organic foods, is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and higher rates of colon cancer. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) now has an opportunity to end the use of carrageenan in certified organic foods. Instead, the NOP is recommending that carrageenan be allowed in organic for another five years.
Please sign the petition below. Tell the National Organic Program that it’s time to get carrageenan out of organics! Please add your own comments, especially if you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea, and are avoiding carrageenan because you've been instructed by your healthcare provider to do so or because you've found relief in a carrageenan-free diet.
Carrageenan is an emulsifier used to keep liquids from separating in organic juice, yogurt, chocolate milk and other dairy products, non-dairy alternatives – and even infant formula! According to the Cornucopia Institute's 2013 report, "Carrageenan: How a ‘Natural’ Food Additive Is Making Us Sick," research links carrageenan to gastrointestinal inflammation, including higher rates of colon cancer, in laboratory animals.
Under NOP rules, carrageenan’s approval is set to expire, or “sunset,” which would mean that it would no longer be allowed in certified organic products. But instead of heeding the latest research, the NOP is recommending that carrageenan be allowed in organics for another five years.
Companies that have lobbied for the continued use of carrageenan include the J.M. Smucker Co. brands Santa Cruz Organic and R. W. Knudsen Family, the Dean Foods brands WhiteWave and Horizon Organic, the Group Danone brand Stonyfield Farm, and farmer-owned Organic Valley. Responding to customer feedback, Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley have since pledged to stop using carrageenan.
In May 2012, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended that carrageenan continue to be allowed in organic foods, but not infant formula, citing studies from Europe that led to carrageenan being banned from infant formula there. The NOP is ignoring the NOSB's recommendation to remove carrageenan from infant formula. The NOP explains:
"The NOSB’s recommendation to prohibit the use of carrageenan in infant formula was based solely on food safety concerns despite carrageenan’s status as a safe food additive ... and despite FDA’s review of carrageenan in infant formula formulations.... Therefore, [NOP] is not implementing this recommendation."
We can't allow carrageenan to continue to be allowed in infant formula or any other organic food. And we can't allow the organic program to be constrained by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) opinions on food safety. After all, this is the agency that insists it’s O.K. to eat olestra, saccharin, trans fats, aspartame, MSG, nitrates, and parabens!
Please sign the petition below, by June 3, 2013. Tell the National Organic Program that it’s time to get carrageenan out of organics!