The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) 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 & Dean Foods--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 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, in blunt terms. is that USDA bureaucrats and industry
lobbyists, not consumers, will now have more control over what can go
into organic foods and products.
This week, acting in haste and near-total secrecy, the U.S. Senate will
vote on a "rider" to the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that will
reduce control over organic standards from the National Standards Board
and put this control in the hands of federal bureaucrats in the USDA
(remember the USDA proposal in 1997-98 that said that genetic
engineering, toxic sludge, and food irradiation would be OK on organic
farms, or USDA suggestions in 2004 that heretofore banned pesticides,
hormones, tainted feeds, and animal drugs would be OK?).
For the past week in Washington, OCA has been urging members of the
Senate not to reopen and subvert the federal statute that governs U.S.
Organic standards (the Organic Food Production Act - OFPA), but rather
to let the organic community and the National Organic Standards resolve
our differences over issues like synthetics and animal feed internally,
and then proceed to a open public comment period. Unfortunately most
Senators seem to be listening to industry lobbyists more closely than
to us. We need to raise our voices.
In the past, grassroots mobilization and mass pressure by organic
consumers have been able to stop the USDA and Congress from degrading
organic standards. This time Washington insiders tell us that the "fix
is is already in." So we must take decisive action now. We need you to
call your U.S. Senators today. We need you to sign the following
petition and send it to everyone you know. We also desperately need
funds to head off this attack in the weeks and months to come. Thank
you for your support. Together we will take back citizen control over
organic standards and preserve organic integrity.
Take action here: