Possibly the Least Consequential Meeting in Its 26-Year History
When members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) assemble in Tucson later this week, it will be the first meeting since it has become painfully obvious to the organic community that their power, created by an act of Congress, has been almost entirely stripped away.
Below: USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue
Unusual for a federal advisory board, the NOSB was endowed with specific statutory power by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), with its members appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The undermining of the NOSB’s authority began during the Obama administration, when it was stripped of the ability to set its own agenda. The agency has since been embroiled in ongoing litigation challenging the undercutting of NOSB power. Now, during the Trump Administration, NOSB decisions are being disregarded on a wholesale basis under USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Prominent on the agenda at the spring meeting will be a review of the safety and essentiality of a number of non-organic materials for use in organic production and a discussion of long-overdue plans to crack down on documented fraud in the importation of organic feed grains.
Although successive Republican and Democratic administrations have paid lip service to the NOSB’s authority while frequently ignoring its recommendations, in a series of unprecedented decisions, Perdue has rendered the board’s expert advice nearly obsolete. Read Full Article »