It’s Consumers vs. Trade this week in congress. The Organic Trade Association is pushing for restoration of National Organic Standards. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Let’s not stop there, though. In a ruling in June, the U.S. District Court in Maine banned synthetic ingredients in products labeled organic. The regulations (2002) were found to violate the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 because they granted a blanket exemption to synthetic ingredients when organic ingredients were not “commercially available.” In July of this year, organic certifying agents were notified that current regulations will not be interpreted to grant this exemption.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the industry representative of Heinz, Dole, Kraft, Unilever, and other so-called organic food producers (as well as little organic cloth diaper manufacturers like me, through our sister company Fuzbaby). They seek a restoration of an exemption for synthetic ingredients under National Organic Standards. They had hoped this restoration would take place as a rider on an farm appropriations bill this week.
As one might assume, The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) does not sit back and watch such actions. They call on their 600,000 members to fight.
OTA members like me have received many updates from the organization on this issue, but the Organic Consumers Association are better organized and have a constituency much more willing to call and write the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. After tens of thousands of contacts last week, the Senate Appropriations bill included only a quick compromise , which called for “an evaluation.”
Then she said: OCA Safeguard Organic Standards
Then he said: OTA Questions and Answers, 9/25
Then he said: OTA Setting the Record Straight, 9/26
Then she said: OCA Talking Points, 9/28
Get a basic rundown of the story from Grist Magazine, a source of environmental news & commentary. In “O Brother, Where Artificial Thou? Fight over synthetic ingredients splits organics community,” by Amanda Griscom Little posted today. [OK, let me just say that despite their great content, Grist Magazine’s attempts at snappy titles have always been a huge turn-off. Seriously, no one cares how clever their editor is. Just give us the facts.]
Can the divisions be healed? One organic community leader calls for resolution among the differing opinions. I don’t know about healed, but I see a major struggle between corporate organic and the people who want the word “organic” interpreted to mean the highest level of natural ingredients. This is precisely the fight I watched my beloved CSA (RIP) go through when the regulations stated that they could put sewage-related sludge on their fields but their could not use their own farm’s compost. My farmer suggested a new label for the real natural food: Hyperganic.
While this issue is currently more relevant to food producers, the effects may well spill over into fiber production.
Who knew interpretation of organic regulations could be so exciting?
More organic resources from Firefly Diapers, including “All Organic Is Not Equal.”