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The Blood Type Diet Archives Volume 2

Suggestions on what to do about it

Posted By: Jean
Date: December-31, 1997 at 16:08:22

From: Vegetarian Resource Center
Subject: Revised USDA points

Suggestions for Responding to the USDA's Proposed Organic Standards

I'm encouraging people to address five points. If any of them are left unresolved in the final regulations, many "orthodox organic" zealots like me will be inclined to lobby Congress to reject the entire proposal.

For the next 90 days of public comment, the USDA is where all our energy on this issue should be aimed--not at Congress, not at the President (all of whom will become important *after* the 90-day comment period), but strongly to the USDA. This is our only opportunity to influence the *content* of the regulations. Once the regulations reach Congress and the President, the only issue will be acceptance or rejection, so the following points need to be made *now*.

1) Prohibit genetic engineering in every phase of the organic food chain--not only GE seeds, but GE (or GE-derived) fertilizers or other agricultural inputs, and foods produced from GE sources or using GE processing agents or their derivatives (e.g., rennets, enzymes such as alpha amylase, etc.).

2) Irradiation should be prohibited under the organic label. It fosters continued reliance on nuclear technologies in general, and simply doesn't fit into the traditional organic orientation. It has been likened to genetic engineering in its reputed ability to modify chemical structures in the food it treats, particularly creating novel proteins, whose bioactivity is completely unknown and unpredictable.

3) Use of municipal sewage sludge as organic fertilizer should be banned. Quite aside from the human waste issue, organic accreditation boards have decried sewage as contaminated with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, which are readily absorbed by many crops.

4) All organic livestock should receive feed which was grown and processed without use of genetic engineering, irradiation, and municipal sewage sludge. (This is particularly important to dairy consumers.)

5) The definition of organic should be determined by concensus among those who have been growing, eating, selling, and promoting organic food over the long term--not by industrial ambitions or popular vote. At a minimum, organic implies *natural from start to finish*. Diluting the meaning of organic is a crime against nature and a crime against consumers who have demonstrated a burgeoning interest in organic products. Respondents should emphasize the issue of "what constitutes organic," rather than safety questions. The safety questions are irrespective of the organic issue, and we should secure the integrity of the organic label first, and *then* turn to the safety, etc., questions, if we wish--but for the entire conventional food chain. Otherwise, if we emphasize safety at this point, we invite the chemical (a.k.a. "biotech") industry to engage in a debate in which by definition they should have no role to begin with. If we stick with organic as a tradition and as a lifestyle choice, there's nothing for them to debate.

Concerned citizens (including citizens of countries buying American products) should multiply themselves as quickly as possible, providing their friends, family, associates, health food stores and organic markets, cooperatives, churches, associations, etc., to which they might belong--in brief, virtually everyone they know--with the information needed for additional responses to the USDA. If we can take Secretary Glickman at his word, the fate of the aforementioned issues rests entirely in the hands of the public--for the

Responses can be made at the USDA web site (, but it's complicated-- requires making comments at exact locations within the 600 pages of the proposal. It's actually simpler to comment by letter, addressed to
Eileen S. Stommes, Deputy Administrator
Room 4007-So.
Ag. Stop 0275
P.O. Box 96456
Washington, DC 20090-6456

Whatever you do, and however you do it, please do it soon!

Richard Kaynor
Pure Foods Alliance of Massachusetts
Natural Law Party of Massachusetts

Messages in This Thread

  • Suggestions on what to do about it
    Jean -- Wednesday, 31 December 1997, at 4:08 p.m.

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