We oppose the change you have made to the process for exempting otherwise prohibited substances (such as synthetics) in food that carries the "organic" or "made with organic" label.
Since 2005, the rule was that exemptions were made for a five-year period, in order to encourage the development of natural and organic alternatives. The exemptions were required by law to expire, or "sunset," unless they were reinstated by a two-thirds "decisive" majority vote of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and after public review.
This is no longer the case. Now, the burden of identifying exempted materials for removal is on consumers.
Under the new policy, exempt materials are permitted indefinitely unless a two-thirds majority of the NOSB votes to remove an exempted (synthetic) substance from the list. The new policy allows USDA to relist exemptions for synthetic materials without the recommendation of the independent board and outside of public view, as required by current law.
This is wrong. The change places us on a slippery slope towards an anything-goes policy where non-organic and synthetic substances get a free pass!
Please reverse this ruling and protect organic standards. Thank you.
Organic Consumers Association
Under pressure from the Organic Trade Association, representing some of the largest players in the organic and natural food segment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has once again weakened the standards for organic.
Tell the USDA National Organic Program: Save organic standards! Reverse the NOSB's new rule that weakens organic standards.
Without any input from the public, the USDA changed the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.
The USDA's new rule plays to the cabal of the self-appointed organic elite who want to degrade organic standards and undermine organic integrity.
For consumers, farmers, co-ops and businesses committed to high organic standards, the USDA's latest industry-friendly move is a clarion call to fight back against the corporate-led, government-sanctioned attack on organic standards.
For consumers, this also means that the list of synthetic and non-organic ingredients allowed in organic will just get longer and longer, making reading organic labels and choosing among organic foods more complicated, confusing and time-consuming.
The USDA didn't give the public an opportunity to comment on the change, but that doesn't mean they're immune to public outcry.
Please sign and share our petition. We'll deliver the petition to National Organic Program Director Miles McEvoy at the next NOSB meeting Apr. 29-May 2 in San Antonio.