Monday, April 03, 2000, 6:34:23 PM, Eric wrote:
EK> In our discussions of the proposed rule, it appears to me we
EK> should ground our critique to that which is in conflict with OFPA
EK> and the intent as found in the House-Senate Conferee Report and
EK> the Senate Committee document accompanying the Senate version of
I agree with much of what Eric presents here, BUT: I would add (fully
aware that Eric does share this view), that any defects present in OFPA
itself *should* also be pointed out at this time, since it's important
that these defects be brought to the attention of the "competent"
authorities, in spite of their being powerless to provide a remedy of
their own accord.
Doing this increases the possibility that the USDA will support the
changes required in OFPA itself in order to avoid damaging the organic
movement more seriously than it already has. Channeling comments
regarding OFPA itself at this time may also help give credence to
these observations and at least be insure an aware of their existence,
so that at a more opportune moment, the agency may be better prepared
to act in a congruent way, perhaps even lend support to an appropriate
The USDA's role is certainly more than the simple administrator Eric
suggests, considering the degree of interpretation and feedback
involved. As mediators of the process, they've directed it's tone and
flow from the beginning, as well as having administrated the funds
connected with it (as Eric wells know, having benefited from it).
Although Eric claims that "USDA is only authorized to implement what
is in the act of congress, nothing more" and this is technically
correct, in practical terms it IS the USDA that is giving attention to
the matter of OFPA/NOP and the implementation of same at this time.
The discussion period for the Organic Rule constitutes an official
open channel and comments are maintained as a matter of public record.
This period should be exploited for highlighting the flaws in OFPA
that degrade the very basis for the Rule.
Clearly, Congress itself will have to act in order to correct the
defects present in OFPA, but we are setting the stage for this but by
addressing our comments to the USDA *as a matter of public record*.
The forum is open. Later, in order for Congress to act, WE will have
to act - i.e., contact, communicate with, convince and obtain
commitments from Congressmen.
I did a study years back regarding the exact changes required in order
to remove the obligatory certification aspects of OFPA. I will find
it, review it and post it as soon as possible (which won't be very
soon but there's still plenty of time).
EK> There is a single section of OFPA worth noting, because the
EK> USDA/NOP is offering in this proposed rule an assortment of new
EK> concepts never developed in the organic community.
EK> §2113 OTHER PRODUCTION AND HANDLING PRACTICES. If a production or
EK> handling practice is not prohibited or otherwise restricted under
EK> this title, such practice shall be permitted unless it is
EK> determined that such practice would be inconsistent with the
EK> applicable organic certification program.
Here I agree with Eric. The above runs contrary to current
certification practices as traditionally implemented by renowned and
respected certifying organizations. The same logic presented in §2113
is that used to justify the massive release of GMOs to the environment
and used to justify the widespread use of DDT before that.
No proof equals free license in the eyes of those after the quick
buck, rather than the prudent and responsible thing to do. Proof is
not generated without studies and adequate studies take time. This is
tantamount to preferring to wait until widespread damage has done
before reversing the in any case unnecessary trend, which demonstrates
either a gross and irresponsible stupidity or the desire to profit at
the public's expense - or both - on the part of those exploiting these
Additionally, I would stress that we are talking about "USDA Certified
EK> In my communciation over the years regarding implementing a
EK> National Organic Program, it has become apparent that many people
EK> do not understand:
EK> --Implementing an act of congress is not developing new organic standards,
EK> guidelines and systems of certification and compliance, but implementing what
EK> has been legally institutionalized.
This is technically true but I feel misleading. Eric considers OFPA
itself a closed issue. I don't and can't, given it's inherent defects.
EK> --And, USDA is only authorized to implement what is in the act of
EK> congress, nothing more.
True, but Congress amends it acts all the time. Here (with OFPA) we
have a case where that is clearly called for.
EK> Secondly, once it is understood the public comment period is for
EK> the public to critique how the proposed rule differs from the act
EK> of congress, in language, concepts, intent, than we must know OFPA
EK> intimately to have any say on the Final Rule.
Obviously, knowing OFPA intimately is important in terms of the weight
given to ones remarks by the USDA. But OFPA itself doesn't (and never
did) exist in a vacuum.
EK> From years of discussion, I have become aware that many members of
EK> the organic community appear to not understand basic concepts that
EK> are the foundation of the language and intent of OFPA.
From years of discussion (including discussions with Eric), *I* have
become aware that certain members of the organic community appear to
hold different goals regarding the importance and future of the basic
concepts and principle that gave rise to and sustain the organic
movement. One way to distinguish the differences rests on whether the
organic food industry is an end in itself, or part of a larger social
and ecological movement. My sympathy lies with the latter
EK> Here is my list. You may have others.
Eric has done a good job here of presenting some areas requiring
changes or clarification. Since this was already posted I <snip> it.
EK> We are implementing an authorized regulatory system, not
EK> innovating one.
That would be acceptable, if it wasn't for glaring and easily
foreseeable injustices that are already occurring as a result of
"regimenting" the organic food industry via a poorly thought out and
inappropriate Act of Congress. Correcting an serious and costly error
is not precisely an innovation.
OFPA's focus is on controlling trade, rather than assuring compliance
with the principles of organic production, and is more of a federal
straitjacket that serves to isolate rather than aide the movement.
Any value it could possibly have is obviated by it's compulsory
nature. Let it stand on it's own merit as one option among others,
implemented voluntarily or not at all. The last thing the organic
movement needs is additional control freak mentality. Diversity will
prevail in any case, but less so in the US if OFPA is implemented as
Organic Farmer since 1968
Never Certified but not opposed to it under appropriate circumstances
(I've helped get others certified on occasion)
Have never apply any synthetic chemical to any land I've farmed
Todo el mundo cabe en un jarrito, sabiendolo acomodar.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Apr 05 2000 - 20:00:38 EDT