Monday, July 2, 2007

An Update On The USDA Allowing Non-Organic Items To Be Used In Organic Products

When the USDA stated that it was going to allow 38 non-organic items to be included under the organic label, it received more than 10,000 comments from consumers and family farmers who were adamantly opposed to this. They claim that this is just an interim approval, and that they will extend this so that the public can comment upon it within the next 60 days.

One of the groups that filed a complaint against this is The Organic Consumers Association. They actually filed a petition during the first 7 days after this approval was issued. The USDA has to publish these comments online. You will discover that out of all of the comments listed here, 99% of them shows that the public is very opposed to the USDA passing this proposal.

During the interim time in which the USDA allows for these products to be used while receiving public comment, there are some things that you need to be aware of. This is because some foods that are marked as "organic" are already using non-organic products. These include: Anheuser Busch's "Organic Wild Hops Beer," which does not include any organic hops at all; sausages, brats, and breakfast links labeled as "USDA Organic" can now contain intestines from farm animals that have raised on chemically grown feed, synthetic hormones and antibiotics; and those products that contain fish oil may have PCBs and mercury in them.

This just goes to show that companies like Kraft, Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch, who are profit-driven, actually have more sway over the USDA than family farmers, independent organic
producers and consumers combined. Luckily, those foods that are labeled "100% organic" will still be required to be 100% organic. This means that this rule will only apply to products that are 95% organic or less. So, if you carefully read ingredient labels and look for the label to say "100% organic" you will be fine. Another option is to purchase your foods only from local family farmers at your local farmers market.

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