Re Section 205.103 (P. 50 of OFPArule.pdf, P. 201 of Complete.pdf) (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at sunsite.unc.edu
Mon Jan 19 13:16:49 EST 1998


http://sunSITE.unc.edu/london   InterGarden   
london at sunSITE.unc.edu   llondon at bellsouth.net

Here's the USDA labelling proposal, believe it if you can.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 23:28:10 -0600
From: "Douglas M. Hinds" <dmhinds at acnet.net>
To: organic-certification at listserv.oit.unc.edu, sanet-mg at shasta.ces.ncsu.edu,
    cooperative-bus at relay.doit.wisc.edu
Subject: Re Section 205.103 (P. 50 of OFPArule.pdf, P. 201 of Complete.pdf)

For those of you interested in this topic, here's the presumptuous,
silly thing in full.  To me, the obvious fix is simple enough, if
possible.  What must be changed is the Act itself.  The first sentence
starts out quoting  "Section 2106(a)(1)(B) of the OFPA (7 U.S.C.
505(a)(1)(B))" and ends by saying that labels can claim a product is
organic "only when the product has been produced and handled using
organic methods in accordance with the Act."  So obviously, you change
the Act.

I posted some time ago the changes to OFPA needed to defuse this bomb,
and they're not that wordy nor many.  I can find the bugger and repost
it, on the basis of a single request to do so.  (But I may be leaving
town tomorrow - Monday - night and don't have a notebook computer yet,
so if anyone's interested, please bear with me).  The changes could be
submitted within the context of this section.

The last paragraph (the third) is way off base.  This kind of
"prohibiting" is equivilent to what people down here call "trying to
block out the sun with one finger".  It's like holding back the tide, or
jousting with windmills. In fact, these guys have got to be kidding.  I
suppose the best appropriate reaction would be to state either that
indirect prohibitions are uneccessary, inappropriate, contrary to free
speech and unenforceable; or that since the word organic is currently
restricted (as per OFPA) to OFPA Certified products, alternative labels
are to be encouraged, rather than prohibited; since more sustainable
agricultural practices are just what the world needs, and both the world
and the market are big enough for more than one point of view and / or
means of expression in that field.

There are then 2 immediate avenues for of escape - 1).- Defuse OFPA
itself (preferred); or 2).- leave space for the development of
alternative labels.  Deferred solutions include legal remedies
implemented through court action, grass roots campaigning, civil
disobedience and taking to the hills.

I did not have the opportunity to type up today as planned, the draft of
a definitive statement I'd begun.

---------------
HEADER
Use of terms or statements that directly or indirectly imply that a
product is organically produced and handled - Section 205.103.

Section 2106(a)(1)(B) of the OFPA (7 U.S.C. 505(a)(1)(B)) provides that
a person may affix or provide a label or other market information about
an agricultural product, including an ingredient, that directly or
indirectly implies that the product is organically produced and handled
only when the product has been produced and handled using organic
methods in accordance with the Act.  Accordingly, we propose in this
section that labels, labeling or market information that directly or
indirectly imply organic production and handling practices may be
provided for or affixed only on agricultural products produced and
handled in accordance with the Act and the regulations in this part.

Our proposed regulations would authorize the use on a label, labeling,
or market information of the term organic and other terms and phrases
that directly or indirectly imply that the product was organically
produced and handled. Therefore, under our proposal, any terms or
phrases that directly or indirectly imply that a product has been
organically produced or handled would be prohibited from being used on
the label, labeling, or market information of products that are not
produced in accordance with the Act and the regulations in this part.

We considered putting in our proposed requirement a specific list of the
terms and phrases that we believe would directly or indirectly imply
that a product was organically produced and handled. We have not done
this because we are uncertain as to what terms and phrases should
appropriately be placed on such a list. We request comment from the
public as to what terms or phrases, other than organic or made with
certain organic ingredients, they believe could directly or indirectly
imply that a product was organically produced and handled and the
rationale for the allowance of their use. Examples of terms or phrases
which we consider may imply directly or indirectly that a product is
organically produced and handled and about which we specifically request
comment include: "produced without synthetic pesticides"; "produced
without synthetic fertilizers"; "raised without synthetic chemicals";
"pesticide-free farm"; "no drugs or growth hormones used"; "raised
without antibiotics"; "raised without hormones"; "no growth stimulants
administered"; "ecologically produced"; "sustainably harvested"; and
"humanely raised".
END
------------

One obvious weak point of OFPA's:  Is the USDA prepared to accept full
liability for any fraud, error or neligence embodied in each and every
product bearing it's seal?  Does it really believe that OFPA will
obviate organic fraud?  By positioning itself as the ONLY valid
certification authority, the USDA simply ignores the pre-existence of a
plethora of of equally (or more) sincere, competent and (in short)
legitimate actors (past or present) contributing to the development of
the concept, practice and market for uncontaminated, healthful,
sustainably produced agricultural products. Also, what effect will OFPA
have on the competitive status of certified organic products from the US
in the international marketplace?

--

Douglas M. Hinds, Director General
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR)
(Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit)
Petronilo Lopez No. 73 (Street Address)
Apdo. Postal No. 61 (Mailing Address)
Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO
U.S. Voice Mailbox:  1 630 300 0550 (e-mail linked)
U.S. Fax Mailbox:  1 630 300 0555 (e-mail linked)
Tel. & Fax:  011 523 412 6308 (direct)
e-mail: cedecor at ipnet.com.mx, dmhinds at acnet.net, dhinds at ucol.mx



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