Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another sneaky attempt to weaken organic standards

The USDA has announced a proposal to allow 38 new non-organic ingredients in products bearing the "USDA Organic" seal. Most of the ingredients are food colorings derived from plants that they say are not "commercially available" in organic form. But at least three of the proposed ingredients, backed by beer giant Anheuser-Busch, pork and food processors, represent a serious threat to organic standards, and have raised the concerns of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), as well as a number of smaller organic companies and organic certifiers. For example, they want to allow:
- Conventionally grown hops, produced with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, to be used in beers labeled as "USDA Organic"
- Conventionally raised factory-farmed animals' intestines (I'll spare you the gory details of what thes animals have been fed) as casing for sausages labeled as "organic."

Then the sneaky part - rather than the standard 30-60 days for public comment, the USDA has indicated they will only be accepting public comments for seven days.

If this concerns you, go to for more information or to write to the USDA.

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