[This Action Alert is Over]
Sneaking Synthetics into Organics
Close the Loophole – Submit a Comment to the National Organic Standards Board
Comments due Tuesday, March 19, 2013 (11:59 pm EST)
Think you’re avoiding synthetic ingredients like sodium benzoate and polysorbate 80 by choosing organic? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The organic law clearly prohibits synthetic and non-organic ingredients in organic foods unless carefully reviewed and deemed safe for human health and the environment. But the United States Department of Agriculture and many organic certifiers have routinely ignored this important legal requirement.
They have allowed conventional agribusinesses, like Cargill, ADM and others, to include artificial preservatives, non-nutritive sweeteners, and other unapproved synthetics to the approved non-organic ingredients that may be used in organic processed foods.
Ingredients are often preserved with sodium benzoate, or treated with sulfuric acid, or extracted with the neurotoxic solvent hexane, and the list goes on…
Cornucopia’s dogged pursuit of this issue led the USDA to issue a memo to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), asking them to address this.
But rather than fix the problem and require that all ingredients and processing aids be certified organic or approved, certain members of the NOSB are now attempting to write an official policy that would continue the violations.
Their proposal is profoundly unacceptable, not to mention blatantly illegal, as it would institutionalize violations of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.
Make your voice heard! Help end the illegal practice of giving agribusiness food suppliers carte blanche. Synthetic and non-organic ingredients that have not been reviewed and approved should not end up in organic foods.
Instructions for submitting public comment:
To submit your comment electronically:
For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.”
The deadline for submitting comments is Tuesday, March 19.
Dear National Organic Standards Board members,
The organic law is clear: every ingredient that ends up in an organic food or beverage must either be organically produced, or approved for use in organics. This applies to all ingredients—whether they are required to appear on the ingredients list or not, as is the case with most sub-ingredients (“other/auxiliary ingredients”) and processing aids.
Rather than correct the past mistakes that have led to the widespread illegal use of unapproved synthetics, the NOSB’s Handling Subcommittee has put forth a proposal for dealing with the “other/auxiliary ingredients” issue that would institutionalize these violations.
Under no circumstances should the Handling Subcommittee’s proposal be adopted. It would be a blow to organic integrity, not to mention that it would be blatantly illegal.
Public interest groups have proposed a policy that would conform with the organic law and regulations. It has been referred to as “Option D.” I support this option, and I urge the Board to adopt Option D.