Action Alert: Protect Organics from Synthetic Additives and Factory Farms

November 9th, 2011

[This Action Alert is Over]

Sign and Mail Your Proxy Letter
Protect Organics from Synthetic Additives and Factory Farms

We are continuing to collect proxies to present to the spring meeting of National Organic Standards Board to keep the pressure on the decision makers.

Please take a moment to print, sign and mail the proxy letter today!

The organic label was founded on the idea that food should be produced in concert with nature, without dangerous chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Another organic value: animals should be raised on real farms that treat them with respect, not exploited on “factory farms.”

Since the government began regulating the organic label, corporate agribusinesses and their lobbyists have been doing everything in their power to co-opt the values the organic movement was founded upon while taking a larger slice of the profit pie.

We were promised change under the Obama administration, but the corrupt alliance between the USDA and corporate agribusiness remains strong with wholesale approval of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) while federal officials look the other way as the organic law continues to be compromised.

At their upcoming meeting, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has the opportunity to close loopholes and strengthen the regulations, but a handful of corporate sector Board members are attempting to do the exact opposite: watering down the standards.

Corporate lobbyists will be at the NOSB meeting at this spring – and so will we, to counter their claims and make sure your voice, supporting organic integrity, is heard.

Please take a moment to print, sign and mail the proxy letter with these requests:

  1. Enforce the organic standards on factory dairies masquerading as “organic.”Since the adoption of the new pasture rule, the USDA has made no effort to systematically visit and inspect the two dozen or so giant factory farms—with up to 9,000 cows each—producing “organic” milk, generally in the desert Southwest, to ensure compliance.Giant corporate dairies continue to squeeze family farmers, and deceive consumers. We need enforcement action NOW. These industrial-scale dairies have a history of scoffing at the law and deserve scrutiny!
  2. Genetically modified microorganisms that are chemically processed and stabilized with synthetic ingredients have no place in organics – especially organic infant formula, baby food and milk.USDA officials admitted in 2010 that their predecessors incorrectly allowed Martek Biosciences Corporation’s unapproved (therefore illegal) synthetic nutrient additives (DHA oil and ARA oil—from fermented algae and soil fungus) in organic foods.Yet the Obama administration has refused to take enforcement action and remove the offending illegalingredients from organic foods.After a friendly meeting with the USDA, Martek Biosciences Corporation petitioned regulators for approval of their chemically processed, synthetic nutrient additives in organic food. Their corporate friends and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) have joined in lobbying the USDA to approve these materials.Join us in urging the USDA to close the door on the future use of novel, unproven synthetic additives in organics and for their immediate removal from existing products.
  3. Stand up for meaningful outdoor access in organic egg, chicken, turkey & hog production.Another incorrect interpretation made under the Bush administration (and now acknowledged under the Obama administration) was to allow giant henhouses to confine up to 100,000 birds in a single building without access to the outdoors(as the law requires).The NOSB is currently considering new rules to eliminate these atrocities. But instead of recommending a reasonable amount of outdoor space for chickens, they are proposing an outdoor space requirement that doesn’t even give the birds enough room to spread their wings, let alone run around, dustbathe and forage for seeds and insects in the outdoors.As for pigs, the NOSB’s woefully inadequate space proposal resembles recommendations by the National Pork Board, the industry lobby group representing factory farmers!
  4. We also request the USDA to stop stacking the National Organic Standards Board with agribusiness representatives instead of truly experienced, independent and respected voices from the organic community. Farmer slots and consumers slots, as mandated by Congress, should go to real organic farmers and organic consumers, not corporate reps.

To a large degree, the future of organics is in your hands. At Cornucopia we are proud, with 4,500 members, to represent more organic farmers than any other group in the United States (about 30% of our members are the farmers’ most astute urban allies/customers).

But you need to make your voice heard to counter the powerful corporate influence.

When we attend these USDA organic meetings, we are badly outgunned by corporate lobbyists—our power comes from the organic community and the good food movement standing together.

Please take a moment to print, sign, and mail back the proxy letter—today!

We will hand-carry your proxy to the USDA spring meeting, adding your voice to the demand that laws covering organics be enforced!

Depending on what the NOSB decides this fall, we might not have another chance to keep organics from being corrupted permanently.

If we lose on these issues, the quality of organic food and the lives of organic livestock will be degraded, while the floodgates to more corporate exploitation of the organic label will be opened.

Thank you!
The staff of The Cornucopia Institute

PS: Would you please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to The Cornucopia Institute to help underwrite this expensive campaign and the work we do to protect the integrity of the organic label—however, no donation is necessary for us to hand-carry your proxy letter to the upcoming USDA meeting.

Please mail your letter, as soon as possible, to:
The Cornucopia Institute
PO Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827

Please print out a copy of the proxy for each member of your family and consider forwarding this message to your friends and contacts who share your passion for protecting nutritious, authentic food and the family farmers who produce it.

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