[Read Cornucopia’s formal Citizen Petition to the USDA for new regulations to prohibit the use of oil and gas wastewater in organic production.]
Fracking Water, Synthetic Ingredients on Agenda at This Week’s USDA Meetings
On the eve of the biannual meeting of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), in St. Paul, Minnesota, The Cornucopia Institute has formally submitted a citizen’s petition requesting the USDA ban the use of wastewater from the oil and gas industry in organic crop production.
Cornucopia, a farm policy research group based in Wisconsin, is requesting that the NOSB prohibit the practice as water that has been used in fracking and other energy production has been found to be contaminated with hydrocarbons, other toxic and carcinogenic chemicals like benzene, and heavy metals.
“Organic regulations already prohibit using sewage sludge because of contamination with toxins and heavy metals,” said Mark A. Kastel, Cornucopia’s executive director. “A loophole has existed whereas potentially contaminated wastewater from sewage treatment plants is being used to irrigate land in drought prone areas like California, as is processed fracking water. Both should be banned on an immediate basis.”
The NOSB is a 15-member expert advisory panel set up by Congress to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. It also oversees the use of any synthetic or non-organic materials allowed for use in organic farming or food processing.
In addition to submitting their wastewater petition, Cornucopia policy staff are commenting on three non-organic materials designed as antimicrobial processing aids (such as washing produce after harvest) and to fumigate soil: silver dihydrogen citrate (an antimicrobial), allyl isothiocyanate, and natamycin (an antifungal drug). Read Full Article »