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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'National Organic Standards Board/National Organic Program' Category


19
Jan

Got Organic? USDA Proposes Organic Check-Off Program, Family Farmers Question Value

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2017) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) opened a 60-public comment period January 17 on a controversial proposal to establish a federal research and promotion check-off program that has split the organic community, with many family farmers and small farm operators disagreeing with the larger organic industry groups, represented by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), on the benefits that they will derive from a mandatory payment requirement. The application to USDA for a check-off, originally submitted by OTA in 2015, has drawn sharp division on questions of benefits and cost to farmers. OTA believes that the check-off will generate resources to lift the organic market. This program is different from traditional check-off programs, which promote individual commodities. USDA oversees check-off programs under the Commodity, Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. According to OTA, the check-off creates an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for certified organic products, whose overarching goal is to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace. OTA says this would be achieved by funding research to benefit the organic industry, improving access to information and data across the organic sector, and educating consumers about the benefits of organic, resulting in increased demand for organic […]

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21
Dec

Cases of Pesticide Poisoning Up in California, Including Agricultural and Residential Areas

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2016) A California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) report of all pesticide related illnesses in the state in 2014 identifies 1,685 cases “potentially involving health effects from pesticide exposure,” combining exposures from agricultural and non-agricultural use. Of the 798 cases associated with non-agricultural use, 18% of them (146 cases) involved exposure in children under 18 years old. The exposure rates are alarming, and only strengthen efforts by local activists in counties like Tulare to protect children from pesticide exposure. According to the report, Tulare County has the highest number of reported illnesses related to pesticide exposure at 78, followed by Santa Cruz County with 67. The report, Summary of Results from the California Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program 2014, provides a summary of illnesses identified by the Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program (PISP), a program under DPR. Of the 1,685 cases potentially involving health effects from pesticide exposure reported, DPR epidemiologists determined that 1,073 of those cases were “at least possibly associated” with pesticide exposure, representing a 5% decrease from 2013. However, even though the number of associated cases decreased in 2014, PISP did see a 14% rise in the number of associated episodes, defined as “an event in which a single source […]

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23
Nov

Choose Organic this Thanksgiving!

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2016)  With Thanksgiving just a day away, there is no better time to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting human health and the environment. Thanksgiving meals are commonly made with conventional agricultural products, which include a plethora of pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) ingredients that can affect  the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. Read below to find out how you can combat the shortcomings of conventional agriculture with an organic Thanksgiving Day feast. Now, more than ever, it’s important to support organic and continue to demand agricultural practices that are protective of human and environmental health. According to GMO Inside, some common foods with GE ingredients purchased during Thanksgiving include: Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Wesson Canola Oil, Bruce’s Canned Yams, Hershey Milk Chocolate, Pepperidge Farm Crackers, Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing, Rice-a-Roni chicken flavored rice, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, and Kraft’s Stove Top Stuffing. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is the most commonly used chemical in the U.S., primarily as a weedkiller in chemical-intensive agriculture. Glyphosate has been  found to cause changes […]

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30
Sep

Make Your Voice Heard to Protect Organic Integrity!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2016) Stand up for organic! The public comment period has opened on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) proposed recommendations affecting  organic standards, materials and policy. The fall 2016 meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by October 26, 2016. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Make your voice heard before the comment period closes. We’ve made tremendous progress in creating an organic food production system. Let’s not let USDA turn back the clock. Beyond Pesticides has  begun to analyze the numerous recommendations and are providing you  with our positions that we hope you will use as the basis for your comments. We will provide positions on additional topics in the near future. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste ours. If you cut and paste our comments into regulations.gov, please first put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance if these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer or other concerned party. Some of the major issues before the fall 2016 National Organic Standards Board include: Chlorine Dioxide Gas: Beyond Pesticides is appalled that the […]

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13
Sep

U.S. Land Use Changes Add Further Strain to Commercial Beekeeping

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2016) Land suitable for commercial beekeepers in the U.S. Northern Great Plains (NGP) is declining rapidly, according to a new study released earlier this month by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS). The region, which supports over 40% of managed honey bee colonies, is quickly replacing suitable pollinator habitat with more and more pesticide-intensive biofuel crops, particularly corn and soybean, as a result of increased crop prices and federal subsidies for biofuels. The concerning trend adds another layer of stress not only to honey bee colonies, but beekeepers whose livelihood depends on the health of their commercial livestock. From early summer to mid-fall, roughly one million honey bee colonies make their way through the Northern Great Plains of North and South Dakota. The area is not usually a stop for pollination services, but a place where beekeepers go to generate a honey crop and improve the health of their colonies. Most of the colonies that summer in the NGP are trucked across the country to pollinate fruiting crops like apples, cherries, melons, and almonds during the winter, or are otherwise moved south to produce packaged bee colonies or queens. According to the USGS study, published in the […]

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12
Sep

Court Rules Consumers and Farmers Can Sue USDA for Weakening Standard that Allows Synthetics in Organic

(Beyond Pesticides September 12, 2016) On Thursday, September 8, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case No. 15-cv-01590-HSG) that challenges changes to the rules that review the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in certified  organic food production. Finding that plaintiffs had established both proper jurisdiction and a viable claim, this ruling allows the case to move forward on its merit. The court will now  be able to review the substantive importance of formal notice and public comment regarding  the rules for organic food production, which were changed dramatically by USDA in 2013. Plaintiffs in this case, recognized  by the court as “approximately a dozen advocacy and industry groups representing organic farmers, retailers, and consumers,” filed a complaint last April asking the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process. Specifically at issue in the lawsuit is a rule that implements the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has been interpreted, under a common reading of the […]

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22
Mar

It’s Time to Protect Organic Integrity

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2016)  Make your voice heard! The public comment period has opened on National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) proposed recommendations affecting  organic standards, materials and policy. Comments are due by April 14, 2016 at 11:59 PM. As usual, there are many important issues that are under  NOSB consideration. Your voice is integral to maintaining organic integrity and the value of the USDA organic label. We have begun to analyze the numerous recommendations and are providing you with our positions that we hope you will use as the basis for your comments. We will provide positions on additional topics in the near future. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste ours from the following web page: Top Priority Issues. Unfortunately, the only way to make your voice heard is to submit your comments to regulations.gov. If you cut and paste our comments into regulations.gov on major issues before the NOSB (below), please put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance if these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer. Some of the major issues before the spring 2016 National Organic Standards Board include: ”¢ Inerts Three items on […]

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12
Jan

Campbell Soup Says GE Food Is Safe, Endorses Mandatory GE Labeling to Preempt States with Weak Language

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2016) Late last week in a precedent-setting move, Campbell Soup Company announced its support for federal mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. If such labeling does not come soon, the company also indicated it is prepared to voluntarily label all products it produces that  contain GE ingredients. Agri-Pulse reported, “Campbell made clear that it still supported the use of genetic engineering in agriculture but said that there is a need for national labeling standards that would preempt state standards.” Campbell’s President and CEO Denise Morrison, ““I want to stress that we’re in no way disputing the science behind GMOs or their safety. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that GMOs are safe and that foods derived from crops using genetically modified seedsare not nutritionally different from other foods,” Morrison wrote.” Ms. Morrison said that the company is against a patchwork of regulation across the states.  In its release Campbell issues a sample label, which states:  “Partially produced with genetic engineering. For more information about GMO ingredients visit WhatsinMyFood.com.” Prior to the announcement, Campbell Soup’s membership to the umbrella group the Grocery Manufacturers Association  pitted it against consumer, health, and environmental organizations, and […]

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14
Sep

Court Rejects USDA Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit on Organic Rule Change

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2015) On Thursday September 10, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in a bench ruling, rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)  motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case3:15-cv-01690) that challenges the National Organic Program’s (NOP) failure to follow proper legal procedures  in making a substantial rule change to the organic standard. This court ruling allows the case to move forward  on the  proper procedure and the importance of formal notice and public comment regarding  the rules for organic food production. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS), challenges the contaminated compost guidance  released by USDA, which weakens the long- standing prohibition of synthetic pesticide contaminants. Prior to the new contaminated compost guidance, organic regulations expressly prohibited fertilizers and compost from containing any synthetic substances not included on organic’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Plaintiffs allege that the USDA’s decision weakens the integrity of organic food production, not only by creating inconsistent organic production standards but also by undermining the essential public participation function of organic policy making under the Administrative Procedure […]

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15
Apr

Groups Sue USDA for Failure to Seek Public Comment on Organic Compost Rule

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2015)””The Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program’s (NOP) failure to follow the law in making a substantial rule change to the USDA organic standard. At issue is the contaminated compost guidance released by USDA, which weakens the long-standing prohibition of synthetic pesticide contaminants. The plaintiff organizations are jointly represented by legal counsel at the Crag Law Center and CFS. The filing follows on the heels of a lawsuit filed last week  by 15 farm, consumer and certifier organizations with a similar procedural challenge to a  rule change to the organic sunset process, which regulates synthetic chemical exceptions in organic production. Prior to the new contaminated compost guidance, organic regulations expressly prohibited fertilizers and compost from containing any synthetic substances not included on organic’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. According to Ralph Bloemers, staff attorney for the Crag Law Center, “The new guidance radically changes organic requirements, allowing organic producers to use compost materials treated with synthetic pesticides.” The USDA made this rule without the required rule-making process, usurping the public’s right to ensure […]

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08
Apr

Groups Challenge Major USDA Change to Organic Rule

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2015)  Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. A coalition of 15 organic food producers and farmer, consumer, environmental, and certification groups asked the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process. Read the complaint here. When it comes to organic food production, consumers and producers expect a high level of scrutiny and are willing to pay a premium with the knowledge that a third-party certifier is evaluating compliance with organic standards. The burgeoning $35+ billion organic market relies heavily on a system of public review and input regarding decisions that affect organic production systems and the organic label.   The multi-stakeholder National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)[1], appointed to a 5-year term by the Secretary of Agriculture, holds semi-annual meetings to solicit public input and to write recommendations to the Secretary on organic policy matters, including the allowance of synthetic and non-organic agricultural […]

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07
Apr

USDA Under Fire for Rules Permitting Agribusiness Interests like Monsanto to Intimidate Scientists

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2015) Scientists working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) don’t have adequate protections from pressure and retaliation when researching issues that threaten the interests of powerful agrichemical corporations like Monsanto, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which filed a petition for rule-making with the agency last month. PEER’s petition seeks to strengthen USDA’s Scientific Integrity Policy, and urges the agency to adopt best practices used in other federal agencies in order to prevent political suppression or alteration of studies. USDA adopted a new integrity policy in 2013 in response to a 2009 memorandum issued by President Obama with the goal of “ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes.” PEER alleges that USDA’s policy falls far short of this aim, even containing language which actively encourages the agency to suppress scientific work for political purposes. USDA’s current policy reads, “scientists should refrain from making statements that could be construed as being judgments of or recommendations on USDA or any other federal government policy, either intentionally or inadvertently.” PEER explains that USDA management regularly uses this provision as reason for suppressing technical […]

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22
Dec

Aerial Photos Show “Factory Farms” Certified Organic in Violation of Law

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2014) Stunning aerial photographs of certified  organic farms taken in an investigation launched by The Cornucopia Institute reveal industrial-scale operations housing thousands of animals in cramped conditions with no access to the outdoors. Access to pasture for ruminants like dairy cows is required under National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, and all livestock certified organic must have a means of reaching the outdoors year-round. “The vast majority of these massive, industrial-scale facilities, some managing 10,000-20,000 head of cattle, and upwards of 1 million laying hens, had 100% of their animals confined in giant buildings or feedlots,” said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute, which has filed a legal complaint against 14 livestock operations it alleges are illegally marketing themselves as organic. It is important to note that not all organic farms house their animals in conditions seen in the aerial photographs. “Many of our dairy farmer-members have animals, they truly care for, that have names, not numbers,” Kastel explained. However, environmental and consumer groups have been sounding an alarm over the increased dependency many larger industry-owned farms have developed  on synthetic inputs temporarily allowed in organic production. These practices undermine the values […]

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12
Dec

Organic Certification System Experiences Growing Pains

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2014) Bursting at the seams, the $35 billion organic food industry has tripled in size over the past decade, severely outpacing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to monitor the more than 25,000 farms and other organizations that sell organic crops and livestock. As a result, certifying agents, or USDA-accredited entities that inspect and certify organic farms and suppliers, have increasingly fallen out of compliance, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Advocates point out that while improvements should be made  in the organic certification system, there is no equivalent inspection system in chemical-intensive agriculture, where inspections are mostly complaint-driven, infrequent, and conducted in most states by state departments of agriculture, which typically promote pesticides and have suffered declines in resources and inspectors. There are currently 81 accredited certifying agents, which include small nonprofit groups, state-run agencies, and large multinationals. However, according to an internal USDA report, of the 37 that had a complete review this year, 23 were cited for failing to correctly enforce certification requirements on farms in audits. These 23 firms did not manage to properly conduct onsite inspections or correctly review applications for organic certifications, among other things, the […]

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06
Oct

Increase in Use of Livestock Antibiotics Linked to Superbugs. . .Again

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2014) Two reports released last week add to the growing concerns surrounding the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the corresponding public health and safety impacts of increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs. Researchers at the University of Texas investigated whether infections of a common and dangerous digestive tract infection, Clostridium difficile (CDI), increased during the period 2001 to 2010. The study, ”˜Deadly diarrhea’ rates nearly doubled in 10 years, examined data from the U.S. National Hospital Discharge Surveys (NHDS), which included 2.2 million CDI discharges. The analysis found that based on these data not only had CDI incidences increased, but they had nearly doubled from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent. “Several factors may have contributed to the rise in CDI incidence in recent years,” said Kelly Reveles, PharmD, PhD, and lead author on the study. “Antibiotic exposure remains the most important risk factor for CDI.” While overuse of antibiotics in humans is a part of the equation, according to the study, reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics agriculture, including  conventional livestock production, has also been a primary target of concern. Because conventional livestock producers use antibiotics as growth stimulators as well as prophylactic, or subtherapeutic, […]

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22
Sep

Your Voice Is Needed to Keep Organic Strong

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2014) Help protect our organic farms and food from pesticides and genetically engineered organisms. Don’t let a weakened public process for organic standards, which  looms large, roll back the progress we’ve made in growing organic production, and undermine public trust in the organic food label.The fall 2014 meeting dates for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) have been announced, and public comments are due by Tuesday, October 7, 2014. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. We’ve made tremendous progress in creating an organic food production system. Let’s not let USDA turn back the clock. About the NOSB The 15-member board, consisting of 4 farmers, 3 environmentalists, 3 consumers, 2 food processors, and one retailer, scientist and certifying agent, votes to allow or prohibit substances and practices in certified organic food and farming. The NOSB acts as a lifeline from government to the organic community, as it considers input from you, the public -the concerned citizens upon whom organic integrity depends. That is why your participation is vital to the development of organic standards. Rest assured, if you submit a public comment either in person or online, your concerns will […]

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17
Jun

National Organic Standards Board Threatened by USDA Maneuvering

Groups Petition USDA to Restore Organic Board’s Independent Authorities Set by Congress (Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2014) Today, 20 organic farm and consumer groups filed a petition with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to protect the authority and permanence of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The petitioners object to recent changes to the NOSB charter, renewed on May 8, 2014, that undermine the mandatory and continuing duties of the Board as established by Congress under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. The NOSB, intended to safeguard the integrity of the organic food label, was created by Congress with independent authorities that operate outside the discretion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Petitioners maintain that in renewing the charter under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), USDA mistakenly re-categorized the NOSB as a time-limited Advisory Board subject to USDA’s discretion and a narrowing of responsibilities. “These changes to the NOSB Charter are significant and directly controvert the specific mandates of OFPA and Congress that NOSB is a permanent, non-discretionary committee that must fulfill a long list of statutorily mandated duties integral to the organic program,” said Aimee Simpson policy director and staff attorney for Beyond Pesticides. […]

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16
May

Consumers Continue to Demand More Organics

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2014) A survey  by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) finds that consumption of organic products has continued to increase at a monumental pace. A growing organic sector is important as it creates healthier options for consumers, better working conditions for farmworkers, and more sustainable environment. As organic continues to grow it is important to maintain our high organic standards to maintain consumer trust in the organic label. According to the survey sales of organic products in the United States jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5% from the previous year’s $31.5 billion and the fastest growth rate in five years.  The survey also projects that growth rates over the next two years will at least keep pace with the 2013 clip and even slightly exceed it. Sales of non-food organic products, at almost $2.8 billion, have jumped nearly eight-fold since 2002, and have almost doubled in market share. The growth rate of organic food sales, which has averaged almost 10% every year since 2010, has dwarfed the average annual growth of just over 3% in total food sales during that same period and now makes up 4 percent of the $760 annually spent on food. […]

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09
May

Take Back Organic: May 15 Deadline to Apply for Open Seats on the NOSB

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2014) Bring a strong voice to the Board that advises USDA on organic standards by filling one of the four open seats for the following stakeholders ””environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer. The deadline for applying is May 15. In April, USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met to decide on a range of issues concerning allowable materials and practices in certified organic farming. The 15-member volunteer board represents the interests of the organic community, consisting of 4 farmers, 3 environmentalists, 3 consumers, 2 food processors, and one retailer, scientist and certifying agent, who vote to allow or prohibit substances and practices in certified organic food and farming. It is a board that is intended to bring together diverse interests and provide  recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP) for adoption. USDA may not allow synthetic materials in organic production that are not recommended for use by the Board. The Board is in need of strong nominees  who will stand up for organic integrity  in the four categories (listed above), especially for the  environmental position  by May 15. In the past, the USDA has agribusiness executive to seats on the NOSB reserved for farmers, consumers, […]

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04
May

NOSB Upholds Phase Out of Antibiotics in Organic Production

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2014) During the recent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the board voted to uphold the phase out in apple and pear production of the antibiotic streptomycin, which is  set to expire on October 21, 2014. Since petitions to allow the use of all synthetic materials in organic production require a decisive, or 2/3’s, vote under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA),  the apple and pear industry’s petition to extend  was voted down with a vote of 8-7. This vote comes after a similar proposal to extend an exemption for oxytetracycline, another antibiotic used in apple and pear production, was rejected at the spring 2013 NOSB meeting. Beyond Pesticides, with other organizations,  has led the effort to remove antibiotics from apple and pear production because of  their contribution to antibiotic resistance, organic consumer expectation that antibiotics are not used in organic food production, and the availability of alternative practices and inputs. In April 2013, the NOSB discussed the problem of antibiotic resistance thoroughly and heard from numerous commenters concerning the problem of antibiotic resistance with respect to its use in orchards. At the Spring meeting, Glenn Morris, M.D, professor of infectious diseases […]

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01
May

Organic Food Consumption Leads to Dramatically Lower Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2014) A recent study, Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet, led by Liza Oates found lower trances of organophosphate metabolites in consumers that ate organic food for a week compared to those who ate a conventional diet. The study  adds to the scientific literature that shows consuming organic food minimize consumers’ exposure to pesticides residue. Because organic agriculture is a healthier system for consumers it is important we protect strict organic standards. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, found that participants who ate a diet that was at least 80 percent organic had 89 percent lower levels of dialkylphosphates (DAPs), non-selective organophosphate metabolites, in their urine. The study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia with non-smoking participates between the age of 18 and 65. Participants were asked to eat a diet of conventional food for a week than on the morning of day eight participants provided a urine sample to the researchers. This process was repeated with the same participants after they spent a week eating at least 80 percent organic food. The levels of DAPs found in participants during the week in which they ate conventional […]

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28
Mar

European Union Set to Strengthen Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2014) The European Commission released a new proposal this week to impose stricter regulations for organic food produced within the European Union (EU). The initiative would harmonize standards within the 29-member bloc, eliminate many exceptions currently allowed in organic agriculture while simultaneously improving consumer trust and addressing producer concerns. The move comes just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is receiving comments on allowable organic materials. The Commission’s proposal acknowledges the massive expansion of the organic market in the EU, which has quadrupled in size over the last ten years ””with similar patterns shown in U.S. organic market. “The future of the organic sector in the EU depends on the quality and integrity of the products sold under the European organic logo,” said Dacian CioloÅŸ, EU Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development. “The Commission is looking for more and better organic farming in the EU by consolidating consumer confidence in organic products and removing obstacles to the development of organic agriculture.” The proposal will eliminate exceptions in organic farming through measures such as reducing the conventional feed and seed, and toughening limits for allowable pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) contaminants. The move is expected to […]

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17
Mar

Campaign Launched to Defend the Organic Food Label

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2014) Organic means healthier food production for you, the environment, and those who farm. So, ensuring that the public trusts the organic food label is critical to the growth of organic. Please join our Save Our Organic campaign to defend the organic food label from USDA changes. Unfortunately, the organic label will be undermined by changes that USDA announced on its website on March 6. These changes: Reduce the rigor of the ongoing decision making process on allowed synthetic materials in organic production; Take away transparency in the decision making process; Limit public participation in policies and procedures governing organic practices and standards; Undermine the responsibility of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and organic community to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic issues; Change organic policy making from one driven by the public process to one controlled by USDA, which can choose to dismiss critical issues. Trust in the organic label over the last 20 years has been built on principles of collaboration among the stakeholder groups (farmers, consumers, and producers) and USDA. Because of the democratic and open decision making process, public trust in the organic label has grown rapidly along with the […]

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