The Organic Farmers Marketing Association, Inc. has composed this document,
part of THE SIDE BY SIDE REVIEW of the USDA's Proposed National Organic
The Side By Side compares the language of the USDA's Proposed National Organic
Program Rule and the "Preamble", the document published by the NOP offering
supporting evidence of why they wrote the Proposed Rule as it reads, with the
Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), the House-Senate Conferee Report,
the document published by joint houses of Congress upon final passage of an
Act and the Senate Report, a committee report that discusses the legislative
objectives concerning the Senate version of what became OFPA.
Fifty years of work by traditional farmers of the forties and fifties, rebels
of the sixties and seventies and innovative and conventional farmers of the
eighties and the nineties are embodied in The Organic Foods Production Act.
Many organic farmers and consumers have been involved in encouraging open
dialogue on the quality of our common lands, waters and health. The Organic
Foods Production Act of 1990 symbolizes a consensus of the best thoughts,
instincts and intuitions of what is beneficial for our nations food security
and environmental future. The hopes of small to moderate size farmers, small
businesses and consumers to see a market driven label for food and fiber that
meets very high, consistent and specific criteria of farming, processing and
handling rides on the Organic Foods Production Act.
Foremost of our concern is for the consumer to have the choice to buy
synthetic substance free food and fiber. The USDA Proposed Organic Rule as
written would take the Organic Foods Production Act, an outstanding Act of
Congress, and destroy its meaning to organic farmers and customers alike.
THE USDA HAS PROPOSED an Organic Rule with a large number of inconsistencies
with the Organic Foods Production Act. The USDA in the Proposed Rule has
usurped the authority of the National Organic Standards Board. The USDA has
structured for unreasonable costs for their accreditation services to the
The USDA has been directed by Congress to implement the Organic Foods
Production Act with Rules that are consistent with OFPA and the principals of
organic farming and handling. Certified organic farmers, handlers and
interested consumers are the guardian of those principals. OFPA is the
greatest opportunity we as a national community have, with trust and clear
identity, to institute a labeling choice that may represent pure and
unadulterated food in the near future. It may take public advocacy to our
State governments and Congressional Representatives through our businesses,
community, labor, farming and religious organizations to secure our
objectives. Now is the time to speak up for a National Organic Program that
meets our highest expectations.
Proposed Rules become Final Rules after the Secretary of Agriculture's staff
review all the comments and respond to the substantial comments. There are
90-days for the public to provide email, postal or fax comment. The
Secretary's staff will take six or months to respond to the Public Comments
and publish a Final Rule. The Proposed Rule is published in the December 16,
1997 Federal Register, found frequently available at public libraries. A
standard paper copy of The Proposed Organic Rule can be bought by calling
202-512-1800 or an internet copy can be accessed at www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
The Side By Side, prepared on a volunteer basis by organic farmers, and the
following other relevant info is available on the Organic Farmers Marketing
Association (OFMA) website at http://www.iquest.net/ofma/sdbysd.htm
How to get a copy of the Proposed Rule OFMA's Side by Side Comparison of OFPA
and the Proposed Rule OFMA's Side By Side Comparison of OFPA and The Rule's
Definitions Where to Comment on the National Organic Proposed Rule
Read the Proposed Rule (Text version) USDA's requests for specific Comments
on the Proposed Rule Contributions and Comments by OFMA Members: "The Mouse
Add your name to our mailing list Press Advisory "Compostia" "USDA Releases
Proposed National Organic Rule"
Please encourage others to visit our Website for information to assist the
public in making informed and timely comments to the USDA.
Please direct your written inquiries to:
Organic Farmers Marketing Association,
8364 S SR 39, Clayton, IN 46118
317-539-6935, (phone/fax), firstname.lastname@example.org
"We are carefully to preserve that life which the Author of nature has given
us, for it was no idle gift," Harvey W. Wiley, first administrator of the
FDA, formerly the Pure Food and Drug Administration
A terse, but fairly comprehensive overview of the USDA's illegal Proposed Rule
A.) National List (farm, and handling operations)
National List class of ACTIVE SYNTHETIC SUBSTANCES:
-The proposed allowance of GMOs-illegal
-The proposed allowance of many synthetic substances, including "chemically
altered plant and animal wastes" in crop production that do not fit into one
of the 10 categories allowed for consideration under the National List
-The exemption of all synthetic seed treatments from the National List
-The categorical allowance of therapeutic medicines (antibiotics, etc) with
normal FDA withdrawal times before returning to a milk line or selling eggs or
meat products at anytime during the life of all animals including milk, eggs
or dairy without being on the National List--illegal
-The categorical allowance of animal drugs for slaughter stock, other than
mammals, up to 7 days after arrival on a certified organic farm--illegal
-The categorical allowance of using medicines on mammals of any kind within
the first 21 days of life on a certified organic farm with FDA normal
withdrawal times before sale of dairy or slaughter as "organic"--illegal
-The use of synthetic parasiticides and topical FDA approved drugs anytime on
any type of livestock after 21 days of age including those producing organic
meat, eggs or dairy-illegal
-The suggested use of synthetic amino acids in livestock feed--illegal
National List Class of SYNTHETIC INERT SUBSTANCES:
-Not reviewing all inert synthetic ingredients in pesticides used on organic
National List Class of NON-SYNTHETIC BUT NOT ORGANICALLY PRODUCED SUBSTANCES
USED IN PROCESSED ORGANIC FOODS
-Not limiting the review of non-synthetic but not organically produced
ingredients used in processed "organic" foods to the OFPA prescription, but
expanding it to include synthetic processing aids, food additives, colorings,
flavorings, enzymes and ingredients, including a GMO--illegal
-The application of the subsection of 2118, "unavailability of wholly natural
substitute products" to the "non-synthetic, but not organically produced"
possible exemption for inclusion in organic processed foods, when the section
pointedly outlaws the use of synthetic substances by stating the only
substances that can be considered are "non-synthetic substances" for the 5% in
processed organic foods--illegal
B.) Not certifying every handling operation labeling and selling a product as
Includes USDA proposed exempting of restaurants and retail stores processing
and selling "organic" as a meal or sandwich, and retail stores processing
organic products and exempting handling operations that do not serve over
three organic farmers or other handling operations from certification--illegal
C.) Livestock feeding:
-The feeding of livestock consistently 80% organic feed--illegal
-The allowance of a one time per farm, 90 day feeding of organic feed before
selling organic milk and dairy products--illegal,
-The allowance of bringing newborn mammals on an organic farm without having
been organic feed up to 15 days after birth--illegal
-Diminished (to only 90 days) feeding standards for livestock producing
-The allowance of the production of organic livestock perpetually with
restricted available space for movement and access to the outside--illegal
D.) The denial of exemption for "made with certain organic ingredients" from
production and recordkeeping requirements and further proposed recordkeeping
requirements for exempted "small farmers"--illegal
E.) The usurpation of NOSB authority (granted under OFPA) by the USDA adding
active synthetics to the National List that were either never reviewed or
recommended by the NOSB (cotton defoliants) or were turned down for
recommendation (GMO Bt, and chymosin and PBO) to the Secretary for the
National List by the NOSB--illegal
F.) The illicit introduction of definitions and therefore approaches that are
inconsistent with OFPA,
-The term "certified facility" applied to livestock facilities, opening the
way to intensive, perpetual confinement livestock operations.
-The term "incidental additives" and the many other undefined "additives"
allowed under the Proposed Rule
-The term "active ingredient in any input other than pesticide formulations"
for introducing synthetic substances in handling and organic farming under
-Introducing a new term "non-synthetic substance" to replace "natural"
-The term "inert ingredient in pesticide formulations" to justify the use of
synthetic substances not allowed in organic farming
-The term "nonactive residues" to allow synthetic substances to exempted from
being prohibited substances
-The term "non-agricultural ingredient" to misrepresent the non-synthetic, but
not organically produced substances that can be included on the National List
for using in processed foods.
G.) Proposing unreasonable fees for organic farmers, handles and certifiers.
No system of oversight of efficiency and to limit the objectives of USDA/NOP
to the mandate of the Organic Foods Production Act.
NCAMP/OFMA PRESS RELEASE:Organic Farmers Marketing Association,8364 S SR 39,
Clayton, IN 46118317-539-6935, (phone/fax), email@example.com
www.iquest.net/ofma/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, 701 E
Street, Washington, DC 20003,
202-543-5450, (fax) 202-543-4791, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cissy Bowman, OFMA
Jay Feldman, NCAMP
USDA's Proposed National Organic Rule Could Destroy Consumer Confidence,
The Organic Marketplace and the Organic Family Farm
WASHINGTON, DC (December 23, 1997) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) National Organic Program Proposed Rule is currently under review by the
Organic Farmers Marketing Association and the National Coalition Against the
Misuse of Pesticides. Severe discrepancies exist between the Organic Foods
Production Act of 1990 and the National Organic Program Proposed Rule released
for public comment December 16, 1997.
The organic production and distribution community, which now encompasses a
multitude of small to moderate size private enterprises, has grown at a rate
of 23% per year for the last 5 years without any government support or
encouragement and is now a 3.5 billion dollar industry.
Demand is skyrocketing because organic farming stands for respect of the
environment, acknowledges the consumer-producer partnership, provides for
humane care of livestock and protects the farmers and farm workers who put
food on our tables and clothes on our backs.
There were some positive proposals in the Rule such as the inclusion of
organic fibers as a production sector and the process for establishing
equivalency of foreign organic certification programs. But those attributes
do not diminish the error of a Proposed Rule with little substantive content
on, or guidelines for, organic farming and handling operation plans and such
basic organic farming necessities like legume based crop rotations.
The rapidly expanding community of organic farmers, consumers, certification
agents and handlers have expressed shock and horror upon reading the USDA's
Proposed Organic Rules.
The USDA's Proposed Organic Rule violates:
· the general prohibition on the use of synthetic substances in organic
farming and handling mandated in the Organic Foods Production Act. Proposing
the use of toxins derived from GMO modified bacteria, Piperonyl butoxide, (a
toxic synergist), amino acids used as growth promoters, antibiotics used as
pesticides, synthetic animal drugs and other animal health care substances,
synthetic and genetically modified food additives and processing aids are all
radical deviations from the original Congressional act.
· the authority and role of the National Organic Standards Board's
responsibilities and powers to limit USDA consideration of allowed and
· OFPA requirements by allowing synthetic substances in organic farming that
can not be considered for use under the National List procedures. The
National List procedure only allows for the consideration of synthetic
substances in 10 specific categories. Consideration of such substances are
subject to technical and scientific, health and environmental review and
· the OFPA requirement to review and evaluate all pesticide product
ingredients in botanical pesticides, including undisclosed inert but toxic
substances. The Proposal allows synthetic inert ingredients to be used on
organic farms without review for toxicological concern that includes EPA List
2, Potentially Toxic Inerts and EPA List 3, Inerts of Unknown Toxicity.
· the Act by proposing new criteria that would allow wide use of synthetic
substances in organic foods. The new criteria and definitions proposed by
USDA are "non-synthetic", "extraneous additives", "unintentional additives",
"incidental additive", "synthetic amino acid additives", "inconsequential
additives", "non-active residue", "non-agricultural ingredient", "non-organic
agricultural ingredient or product", "active ingredient in any other input
other than pesticide formulations."
· the clear prohibition of using synthetic substances in processed organic
foods. The Proposal creates new illegal categories in the National List to
allow synthetic processing aids, food additives, enzymes and Genetically
Modified Organisms. The National List process calls only for consideration of
non-synthetic, but not organically produced ingredients up to 5% in processed
foods labeled organically produced.
· the National List procedures by opening for public consideration the use of
"ionizing radiation," "biosolids" (sewage sludge) and Genetically Engineered
Organisms in organic farming and handling.
· the prohibition against use of synthetic medicines, antibiotics and
paraciticides from birth for livestock, poultry and dairy animals whose
products are sold as "organically produced," if the synthetic substances are
not on the National List.
· the requirement of feeding only organically produced feed to livestock
raised for "organically produced" meat, dairy and egg production.
· the requirement of feeding dairy animals organically produced feed for 12
months prior to producing milk and dairy products labeled as organic.
· the organic standards of providing organically raised livestock adequate
space for movement and access to the outdoors.
· the legislative language and intent by proposing reliance on residue testing
for synthetic substances rather than conforming to OFPA, which prohibits any
use of synthetic substances that are not on the National List.
· the exemption granted when using the term "made with (certain) organic
ingredients" for processed food from all requirements of the Act. Small
businesses choosing to enter organic processing using only a limited number of
organic ingredients are unduly burdened by such a Proposal. Under the Act,
products using the label language "made with (certain) organic ingredients" do
not have to be processed, packaged or stored by a certified organic handling
· the requirement for the certification of all handling operations that
contract to process, package and store certified organic products by
illegitimately proposing to exempt those handling operations that work for no
more than three certified operations.
· the requirement to certify all handling operations, including restaurants
and retail establishments, that process products and sell them as "organically
produced," by proposing to provide an exemption from certification for these
operations. Processing, as defined in OFPA, includes all the normal culinary
arts, food manufacturing and packaging.
· OFPA by creating a new category of certification, the "certified facility."
The language and intent of OFPA requires that farms and handling operations
can be certified as utilizing a system of organic farming or handling. In the
Proposed Rule, USDA is proposing to accept perpetual and intensive confinement
livestock operations as an organic "certified facility."
· the intent and spirit of the Act to encourage and promote organic family
farming and small businesses by proposing excessive fees and by promulgating a
Proposed Rule wildly out of conformance to OFPA. The Act describes not just a
system of farming and handling, but incorporates progressive concepts
providing for the institutionalization of a public/private partnership based
on mutual respect. The National Organic Program will receive virtually all
its income from organic farmers, handlers and certifiers it serves and will
not receive substantial annual operating appropriations from Congress. The
NOSB needs to have oversight powers on spending and efficiency in the future.
Jay Feldman Executive Director of National Coalition Against the Misuse of
Pesticide, an organization representing consumers, farmers, environmentalists
and labor, called the USDA proposal "a disappointing effort that will have the
effect of undermining organic farming practices, environmental protection and
consumer support for the organic label in the market place. Rewriting this
Rule to conform to the Organic Foods Production Act is of critical importance
to all those concerned about pesticide contamination and poisoning,
environmental protection and safe food."
Cissy Bowman, certified organic farmer and Secretary of OFMA said, "If the
proposed Rule is adopted I will feel that the organic label will be terribly
misleading and I will be selling the public a false bill of goods.
Implementing the Proposed Organic Rule as is, without radically rewriting it
so that it conforms to the OFPA, will result in the devastation of consumer
trust in the term organic. In response to this deplorable organic Rule,
consumers and organic farmers must form a solid, active and unyielding
coalition to implement OFPA properly."
There is 90 days for the public to provide email, postal or fax comment.
Copies of the December 16, 1997 Federal Register contain the Proposed Rule,
frequently available at public libraries. The Proposed Organic Rule can be
bought by calling 202-512-1800 or it can be accessed at www.ams.usda.gov/nop
The Organic Farmers Marketing Association has available a side by side
comparison of the Proposed Rule with the Organic Foods Production Act. Copies
of the Proposed Rule, side by side and other relevant papers are available on
the OFMA website at http://www.iquest.net/ofma/sdbysd.htm
"We are carefully to preserve that life which the Author of nature has given
us, for it was no idle gift." Harvey W. Wiley, First Administrator of the
Pure Food and Drug Administration 1906.
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