CONTACT: Ronnie Cummins 218-226-4164 June 22, 2007
Despite receiving more than ten thousand comments from consumers and family farmers opposing various aspects of a late May 2007 proposal, the USDA has approved a rule that will allow 38 new non-organic ingredients to be allowed in products bearing the "USDA Organic" seal. But the agency says this may just be interim approval, ,and has offered to extend teh public comment period another 60 days (the original public comment period was only 7 days). Take action and send a letter to the USDA here.
The Organic Consumers Association filed a petition during the USDA's short seven-day comment period on the issue outlining various problems with some of the proposed ingredients (read full petition here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5225.cfm). The USDA is required to post all such incoming comments online, and 99% of the comments currently posted there show the public opposes the passage of this proposal.
The USDA's passage of this proposal has resulted in the following:
-Anheuser Busch will be allowed to sell its "Organic Wild Hops Beer" without using any organic hops at all.
-Sausages, brats, and breakfast links labeled as "USDA Organic" are now allowed to contain intestines from factory farmed animals raised on chemically grown feed, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics.
-Products labeled as "USDA Organic" and containing fish oil may contain toxins such as PCBs and mercury (note: nonorganic fishoil products have this same risk, but despite the USDA ruling, it is against the National Organic Standards to allow such toxins in organic foods).
"It's disheartening to see how profit motivated businesses like Kraft, Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch have more sway over the U.S. Department of Agriculture than family farmers, independent organic producers, and consumers," said Ronnie Cummins, OCA's National Director.
OCA's Environmental Scientist, Craig Minowa, noted that foods labeled as 100% organic will still be 100% organic. "This rule applies to products that are 95% organic or less," said Minowa of the USDA's decision, adding that "The ruling is yet another reason for organic-minded shoppers to carefully read ingredient labels, look for '100% Organic' labels, and buy from local family farmers via your area co-op, farmers market or CSA."
Take action and send a letter to the USDA here.
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION ·
6771 SOUTH SILVER HILL DRIVE·
FINLAND, MN 55603 USA
Telephone: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652·