Save Organic Standards! Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to Reverse Rule that Weakens Organics
Under pressure from the Organic Trade Association, representing some of the largest players in the organic and natural food segment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has once again weakened the standards for organic.
Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack: Save organic standards! Reverse the NOSB’s new rule that weakens organic standards.
Without any input from the public, the USDA changed the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.
The USDA’s new rule plays to the cabal of the self-appointed organic elite who want to degrade organic standards and undermine organic integrity.
For consumers, farmers, co-ops and businesses committed to high organic standards, the USDA’s latest industry-friendly move is a clarion call to fight back against the corporate-led, government-sanctioned attack on organic standards.
For consumers, this also means that the list of synthetic and non-organic ingredients allowed in organic will just get longer and longer, making reading organic labels and choosing among organic foods more complicated, confusing and time-consuming.
The USDA didn’t give the public an opportunity to comment on the change, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to public outcry.
Please sign and share our petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to reverse this disastrous new rule. We’ll deliver the petition to National Organic Program Director Miles McEvoy at the next NOSB meeting Apr. 29-May 2 in San Antonio.
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The National Organic Standards Board is a 15-member advisory committee appointed by the US Department of Agriculture Secretary to make decisions about synthetic and non-organic materials allowed in certified USDA Organic food. With 10 out of 15 members’ approval, a synthetic or non-organic material can be added to the National List. Every five years each non-organic material must be reviewed in a Sunset Process. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture changed the rules of Sunset. For the first time, at its next meeting (Apr. 29-May 2), the NOSB will be operating under the new rules.
Under the original Sunset Process, 5 years after a non-organic material was added to the National List, it would be removed from the List unless the National Organic Standards Board voted with a two-thirds majority to keep the material on the List. Industry would be given 5 years to find organic versions of necessary non-organic materials, and when the 5 years were up, the non-organic material would be phased out or “sunsetted.” Now, the process is reversed. Each non-organic material will stay on the National List unless the National Organic Standards Board votes with a two-third majority to remove it.
The 15-member National Organic Standards Board, appointed by the Agriculture Secretary, is always stacked with industry reps that consistently vote with Big Food against consumers. Currently, this includes employees of, certifiers of and consultants to Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, Horizon, Zirkle Fruit Company, Earthbound Farm, Whole Foods Market and other industry stalwarts. The Board’s industry-weighted membership guarantees that the ten votes need to remove a non-organic material stand little chance of being garnered.