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Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:38 AM

 

USDA Illegally stacking the Deck at Organic Standards Board?

Last edited Tue Aug 19, 2014, 01:35 PM - Edit history (1)

http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/08/nosb-voting-scorecard-released-lobbyistsinfluence-peddlers-eroding-organic-standards

On-edit: I just realized that the excerpted quote does not explain the acronym. NOSB = National Organic Standards Board - a volunteer panel created by the Organic Foods Production Act to create Organic policy in conjunction with the USDA and its paid staff. The Cornucopia Institute is doing a good job of watch-dogging both the NOSB and the USDA itself.

“In recent years, just as with the polarized U.S. Supreme Court, many critical issues were decided by one-vote margins,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at Cornucopia. “Almost universally, the NOSB is split along ideological lines (corporate agribusiness versus farmers and consumers) on whether to allow controversial synthetic and non-organic additives in organic food or weak animal husbandry standards utilizing the ‘factory farm’ production model of organic meat, eggs and dairy products.”

Cornucopia’s analysis comes two years after the policy group released a white paper entitled The Organic Watergate. That report documented how a number of risky and/or gimmicky synthetic or non-organic materials were approved for use in organics. It highlighted a couple of board members, appointed as “farmers,” who did not meet the intent and legal qualifications that Congress had set out for composition of the board.

“We have two members of the current board, both sitting in seats that Congress had designated for someone who must ‘own or operate an organic farming operation’ but who were actually agribusiness employees when appointed to the five-year term on the NOSB,” said Kastel.

Of the four seats reserved for farmers on the current board, one is held by an employee of the giant California berry marketing firm, Driscoll’s (which does not grow organic strawberries but rather relies on contract farmers), and one by an individual who, when appointed, worked for the country’s largest organic marketing cooperative, CROPP ($928 million in annual revenue). The voting records of these two agribusiness employees are significantly lower than those of the actual farmer members of the NOSB.


Much more at the link. Certified-organic agriculture needs to maintain its threshold of integrity in order to retain any legitimacy. There will always be more innovative, sustainable, and/or 'fringe-ier' systems of farming out there (Permaculture, biodynamics, etc.) but Organic is both big enough to be recognizable by the average American, yet holistic and sustainable enough to really make a difference with respect to the land, farmworker health, and the quality of the food itself. Our Democratic Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, needs to quit eroding Organic's integrity. Congress set up a good system with the NOSB, and the USDA needs to respect it.

-app

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Reply USDA Illegally stacking the Deck at Organic Standards Board? (Original post)
appal_jack Aug 2014 OP
newfie11 Aug 2014 #1
villager Aug 2014 #2
appal_jack Aug 2014 #3

Response to appal_jack (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:40 AM

1. In preparation for TPP. Nt

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Response to appal_jack (Original post)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:45 AM

2. Vilsack was one of the strong, early indicators this administration would just be corporate hackery

 

n/t

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Response to villager (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:47 AM

3. Yes, unfortunately true.

 

I was disappointed in Vilsack during the nomination, and nothing he has done since has given me reason to reconsider.

-app

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