Organic Food Changes Allow More Pesticides, Hormones

Changes made in April to the nation's organic food standards are causing an outcry among some producers and activists who say the changes are setting a pattern that could eventually render the organic label meaningless. The changes in the National Organic Program standards:

  • Expand the use of antibiotics and hormones in organic dairy cows
  • Allow more pesticides in the organic arsenal
  • For the first time let organic livestock eat potentially contaminated fishmeal

Program administrators also reversed themselves and said seafood, pet food and body care products can use "organic" on their labels without meeting any standards at all. And in what the $11 billion organic food industry, consumer and farm groups call a dangerous precedent, program administrators made last month's changes in three "guidances" and one "directive" without seeking public comment or consulting with their own advisers on the National Organics Standards Board. A coalition of organic interests says the interpretations represent major changes that could threaten the integrity of the program, which set a high standard for what products qualify as organic.

Organic Consumers Association May 22, 2004

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