NOSB Comments Spring 2013

After Cornucopia’s investigative report, The Organic Watergate, found that an unholy alliance between corporate agribusiness and the USDA was resulting in gimmicky and risky synthetics being added to organic food production, we promised that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) would never meet again without an unbiased scientific review of all synthetic and non-organic materials proposed for use in organics.

Now, before every NOSB meeting Cornucopia food scientists and policy staff carefully review all proposals and prepare a briefing for board members. If you’d like a chance to become an organic policy wonk, please click here to review Cornucopia’s critique of the April 2013 agenda proposals.

One of the issues covered in our analysis is the continued use of antibiotics on apple and pear trees as a control for fire blight. Not only is antibiotic use inconsistent with the foundational precepts of organics, a national survey of tree fruit producers conducted by Cornucopia found that less than half have ever needed to depend on tetracycline and streptomycin for fire blight. One of the thresholds for any synthetic used in organics, to be approved, is that it is “essential” in organic production.

Since dedicated organic farmers know how to produce apples and pears, relying on preventative cultural practices, the crutch of using antibiotics appears to be unnecessary and thus not legally approvable.

Mark Kastel
Senior Farm Policy Analyst
The Cornucopia Institute

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