______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Consumer Alert - Food standards
Author: Compostgal <Compostgal@aol.com> at cclink
Date: 1/18/98 6:12 PM
Dear friends - I found this on my email and believe it a powerful statement
about the immediate challenge to our food supply. Let us do something to
counter this assault on our rights - even if you personally do not believe it
an assault on our heath. I have more material to send you if you wish.
Peace, in hope,
PS - I apologize if you are receiving more than one of these. I keep getting
some warnings and do not know if things went out.
I think most of you know that I am heavily involved in the organic
business. Enclosed is an article I wrote for a local publication.
Hopefully, you will find it interesting. Rick
ORGANIC STANDARDS CAUSE FOR CONCERN
by Richard A. Repp
Endicott, WA - The organic industry is in an uproar! The new rules
released by the USDA on December 16th are being described by members of
the organic community as nothing less than an attack on the basic
principles and integrity of organic food. Does this affect you? Even
if you don't often purchase organic food you might be surprised.
After growing up on an organic farm and working in the organic industry,
I would probably be expected to have strong views about the proposed
National Organic Standard, but reading through the proposed rules
quickly reveals issues that should cause alarm for all food consumers,
both organic and conventional. The USDA is proposing and allowing
consideration of some processes for organic food that are highly
1) The use of genetically modified organisms, despite the lack of
research regarding their long term impact on human health and the
2) The use of irradiation on organic food, despite the evidence of
reduced nutrition value and decreased digestibility, as well as
indications of other health risks.
3) The use of human sewage and industrial sludge as fertilizer,
despite the content of viruses, heavy metals and various known and
4) The use of up to 20% non-organic feed, including reprocessed
animal protein, for organic livestock, in clear violation of existing
organic standards requiring 100% organic feed, and despite the fatal
results of such practices in British "Mad Cows."
5) The confinement of livestock in high density facilities, despite
the desire of organic consumers and producers to encourage humane
treatment of animals.
6) The application of "animal drugs" to organic livestock, despite
existing organic standards which do not allow any medicated animals to
be sold as organic.
7) The use of synthetic substances and "inert" or "incidental
additives" as ingredients in production and processing of organic food.
A national organic standard that allows these practices will be
unacceptable to the consumers, farmers and industry members who have
built the organic food market into a $3.5 billion industry. The market
has been growing at a rate of 23% annually because the consumers care
passionately about the health of their families, the health of the
environment and often the health of small family farms. They cannot be
expected to accept adulteration of their food in ways they have sought
The basic issue is consumer rights. It's bad enough that questionable
practices are used without proper labeling in conventional food, but
allowing these processes in organic foods will eliminate an existing
consumer option for avoiding them.
Do we as U.S. citizens have the right to determine what we put in to our
own bodies...or does the USDA have the right to pre-determine for us what
is healthy and limit our choice of what we can and cannot buy? According
to Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman in his Dec. 15th press
conference, "We have one high standard for food safety in this country.
Period." ...because, after all..."It's a well known fact that the very
best science has proven the products of biotechnology and the process of
irradiation not only safe, but beneficial."
I don't know about his definition of "the very best science," (would
that be the same science that put phen-phen on the market in the first
place?), but I do know that pushing irradiation, bio-engineering and
other synthetic processes, for both conventional and organic food,
limits my options as a consumer.
And that is cause for concern.
(If this issue concerns you, please check out the USDA website at
www.ams.usda.gov/nop and then VOICE YOUR OPINION BY MARCH 16TH to:
Eileen S. Stommes, Deputy Administrator
USDA-AMA-TM-NOP, AG Stop 0275, Room 4007-So.
P.O. Box 96456
Washington, D.C. 20090-6456
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