Why “USDA Organic” Is About to be Meaningless

The USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in San Antonio, TX on April 29th began with a protest and an arrest. Organic Consumer Association’s political director, Alexis Baden-Mayer was hauled off in handcuffs for protesting illegal changes to the USDA National Organic Program’s (NOP) sunset policy. After 15 minutes of chanting, “Don’t Change Sunset,” Ms. Baden-Mayer was physically removed by San Antonio police. Watch this video of the event.

The sunset policy said that once a synthetic material or additive was added into organics, it would be automatically taken out after five years unless 2/3 of the NOSB voted to keep it in. Now the additives will automatically STAY IN INDEFINITELY unless 2/3 majority votes to remove it. The list of junk in our organics will keep getting longer and longer until USDA Organic label means nothing.

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is headed up by Miles McEvoy, who illegally and without notice, reversed the sunset policy. Mr. McEvoy also hi-jacked the NOSB meeting by inserting himself in as co-chair. The NOSB is supposed to be an independent advisory board to the NOP. How can it be independent of the NOP if the head of the NOP is co-chairing the meeting? This was immediately challenged by Jay Feldman, a member of the NOSB, but eventually the meeting continued with McEvoy in place.

I am proud to say that I was at this meeting, although I did not witness the protest and the arrest. I arrived later in the afternoon to give testimony on behalf of the Cornucopia Institute. It was an honor to be a citizen lobbyist. I told the NOSB to please consider the information being presented carefully. As a mother and citizen, I see the USDA Organic label as the last bastion of safe food for my family.

My formal testimony was regarding aquaculture animals. There was a proposal before the NOSB to add chlorine, vitamins and vaccines that could be genetically engineered, to cover up sickly farmed fish that were being raised “organically.”

You can get involved. Tell Miles McEvoy that you are sickened by his power grab to weaken organics miles.mcevoy@ams.usda.gov