May 24th, 2013
USDA violates the Organic Foods Production Act
Draft rule on carrageenan, cellulose and “inert” synthetics in pesticides disregards decisions by the National Organic Standards Board
Comment before Monday, June 3, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Political corruption and power grabs usually happen behind closed doors. The Cornucopia Institute has consistently called for more transparency at the USDA’s National Organic Program, but quite frankly, this power grab, in broad daylight, is unexpected.
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the citizen panel charged by Congress to determine which synthetics are allowed in organic food production, voted to prohibit the use of carrageenan in organic infant formula, to prohibit the use of synthetic microcrystalline cellulose as a food ingredient, and set a deadline for reviewing synthetic and potentially harmful ingredients in previously approved pesticide formulations.
By law, the USDA cannot allow a synthetic material in organics unless it has been approved by the NOSB. But the agency seems completely uninterested in following the law governing organics, the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The USDA’s proposed rule, released on May 3, disregards the NOSB’s decisions entirely on these three important topics.
Please send a comment to the USDA—let them know that they are acting outside their legal authority and that we will not stand by quietly while they protect corporate interests rather than the health of consumers and the environment.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING COMMENT
To submit your comment electronically:
Docket Number: AMS—NOP—11—0003
For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.”
The deadline for submitting comments is Monday, June 3.
SAMPLE LETTER (you may cut and paste, but you are encouraged to personalize)
The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) does not give the USDA the authority to list materials on the National List unless they have been approved by the NOSB.
The USDA disregarded the proposed annotations, adopted by the NOSB, on List 3 inerts, carrageenan and cellulose (prohibiting or restricting their use).
I am especially concerned with the USDA’s decision not to prohibit the use of carrageenan in organic infant formula. Carrageenan is a harmful ingredient that has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and even cancer. It should be prohibited in all organic foods.
I would also like to see all ingredients in pesticide formulations used in organics reviewed as soon as possible, and the NOSB’s annotation would facilitate this.
- Remove Dangerous Additive From Organic Products (forcechange.com)
- Why is a Known Toxic Substance Allowed in Organic Foods? (naturalsociety.com)
- Martek Biosciences (sourcewatch.org)
- What is Organic Agriculture? 5.14.13 (sublimeprosperity.wordpress.com)