Bush Officials Weaken Organic Food Standards: Public Shut Out

May 21, 2004

The Bush Administration is giving Americans new reason to watch what they eat. Over the course of 10 days last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued three "guidances" and one directive -- all legally binding interpretations of law -- that threaten to seriously dilute the meaning of the word organic and discredit the department's National Organic Program.

The changes -- which would allow the use of antibiotics on organic dairy cows, as well as synthetic pesticides on organic farms, and more -- were made with zero input from the public or the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the advisory group that worked for more than a decade to help craft the first federal organic standards, put in place in October 2002.

The USDA insists the changes are harmless: "The directives have not changed anything. They are just clarifications of what is in the regulations that were written by the National Organic Standards Board," stated USDA spokesperson Joan Shaffer. "They just explain what's enforceable. There is no difference [between the clarifications and the original regulations] -- it's just another way of explaining it."

But Jim Riddle, vice chair of the NOSB and endowed chair in agricultural systems at the University of Minnesota, argues that what the USDA is trying to pass off as a clarification of regulations is in fact a substantial change: "These are the sorts of changes for which the department is supposed to do a formal new rulemaking process, with posting in the federal register, feedback from our advisory board, and a public-comment period. And yet there is no such process denoted anywhere."

Organic activists suspect that industry pressure drove the policy shifts. They point out that the USDA leadership has long-standing industry sympathies: Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman served on the board of directors of a biotech company; both her chief of staff and her director of communications were plucked right out of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

One practice favored by large agribusiness is the use of antibiotics on cows. A USDA guidance issued on April 14 will allow just that on organic dairy farms -- a dramatic reversal of 2002 rules. [1] Under the new guidelines, sickly dairy cows can be treated not just with antibiotics but with numerous others drugs and still have their milk qualify as organic, so long as 12 months pass between the time the treatments are administered and the time the milk is sold.

"This new directive makes a mockery of organic standards," said Richard Wood, a recent member of the FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee and executive director of Food Animal Concerns Trust.

Another new guidance put out on the same day would allow cattle farmers to feed their heifers non-organic fishmeal that could be riddled with synthetic preservatives, mercury, and PCBs, and still sell their beef as organic.

And the following week, on April 23, the USDA took the startling step of issuing a legal directive that opens the door for use of some synthetic pesticides on organic farms.

Last but certainly not least, another guidance released on April 14 narrows the scope of the federal organic certification program to crops, livestock, and the products derived from them, meaning that national organic standards will not be developed for fish, nutritional supplements, pet food, fertilizers, cosmetics, or personal-care products.

Despite the USDA's demurrals, activists view the department's changes as a serious threat to hard-won standards for organic products. The National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and other groups are investigating possible industry influence into the USDA's process, and some environmental groups are preparing to take legal action.

This story was jointly produced by BushGreenwatch http://www.bushgreenwatch.org and Grist Magazine http://www.gristmagazine.com/. For more on this story, visit Grist Magazine http://www.gristmagazine.com/muck/muck051804.asp.

[1] Antibiotic Guidance Statement, USDA, Apr. 14, 2004.
[2] Fishmeal Guidance Statement, USDA, Apr. 14, 2004.
[3] Pesticide Compliance, USDA, Apr. 23, 2004.
[4] Scope Guidance Statement, USDA, Apr. 14, 2004.

Source: http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000123.php


User Status

Du bist nicht angemeldet.




Mai 2004

Aktuelle Beiträge

Wenn das Telefon krank...
http://groups.google.com/g roup/mobilfunk_newsletter/ t/6f73cb93cafc5207   htt p://omega.twoday.net/searc h?q=elektromagnetische+Str ahlen http://omega.twoday. net/search?q=Strahlenschut z https://omega.twoday.net/ search?q=elektrosensibel h ttp://omega.twoday.net/sea rch?q=Funkloch https://omeg a.twoday.net/search?q=Alzh eimer http://freepage.twod ay.net/search?q=Alzheimer https://omega.twoday.net/se arch?q=Joachim+Mutter
Starmail - 8. Apr, 08:39
Familie Lange aus Bonn...
http://twitter.com/WILABon n/status/97313783480574361 6
Starmail - 15. Mär, 14:10
Dänische Studie findet...
https://omega.twoday.net/st ories/3035537/ -------- HLV...
Starmail - 12. Mär, 22:48
Schwere Menschenrechtsverletzungen ...
Bitte schenken Sie uns Beachtung: Interessengemeinschaft...
Starmail - 12. Mär, 22:01
Effects of cellular phone...
http://www.buergerwelle.de /pdf/effects_of_cellular_p hone_emissions_on_sperm_mo tility_in_rats.htm [...
Starmail - 27. Nov, 11:08


Online seit 6961 Tagen
Zuletzt aktualisiert: 8. Apr, 08:39