Last Day to Save Organic Standards (FWD)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at metalab.unc.edu
Mon Jun 12 13:20:15 EDT 2000



FORWARDED MESSAGE:
Subject: Last Day to Save Organic Standards - Send Everywhere
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Please Post - Monday June 12, 2000 - E-mail & Fax comments by midnight
tonight:
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ACT NOW & Tell the USDA to Create Stronger Organic Food Standards!

Note: If you wish to let the United States Department of Agriculture - USDA
know by email what you think of their March, 2000 proposed National Organic
Standards, please send your comments to the Organic Consumers Association at
<info at organicconsumers.org> and we will forward these on to the USDA. The
USDA has chosen to not provide an email address for submitting comments, so
OCA will provide this service for those of you who do not have access to the
internet.

To submit comments via the USDA website: See http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop
http://www.192.239.92.75/waiscomment.html

When faxing or mailing comments you must refer to Docket number:
TMD-00-02-PR2
To send comments by fax to the USDA: 703-365-0760
To send comments by regular mail:  Keith Jones, Program Manager, National
Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP, Room 2945-So., Ag Stop 0275, PO Box
96456, Washington, D.C. 20090-6456

The 90 day comment period ends today, June 12, 2000.

     - Sample Letter & more information follows this introduction -
    ................................................................
     CAUTION: REVISED ORGANIC STANDARDS ARE WEAKER THAN THEY APPEAR

  You Can Help. The USDA has recently released its new proposal for National
Organic Food Standards. While the USDA fixed many problems indentified in
the 275,000 public comments submitted two years ago, it hasn't shut the door
tight on genetic engineering, irradiation and sewage sludge.

   It hasn't closed loopholes that allow animal factories to be considered
organic. And it imposes fees that will drive small family farmers out of
organic agriculture.

   Finally, the proposal does not provide leeway for farmers and certifiers
to improve and strengthen organic standards. We urge you to fight back by
calling on the USDA to adopt a rule that guarantees strong national organic
standards. The USDA is accepting comments through June 12th. Copying the
sample letter below will enable you to send the USDA a message, to have your
comments in the official record, and to make your opinion count.

   Thanks from all of us at Organic Watch for helping to make a difference!

SAMPLE LETTER:

Keith Jones
Program Manager
National Organic Program
USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP
Room 2945-So., Ag Stop 0275
PO Box 96456
Washington, DC 20090-6456

Attn: Docket no. TMD-00-02-PR

Dear Mr. Keith Jones:

In response to the USDA's new proposed National Organic Program, published
at 65 Federal Register 13512 (March 13, 2000), I request the USDA to take
these actions:

* I Want The Big Three Prohibited Forever.
Because of their health and environmental impacts, genetic engineering
(excluded methods), irradiation and sewage sludge should be permanently
prohibited and not allowed into organics on a case-by-case review;
irradiation must be defined and burned sewage sludge (ash) should not be
allowed. Proposed [205.2; 205.204(b); 205.206(f); 205.236(b)(3);
205.270(c)(2)].

* I Don't Want Animal Factories in Organic.
Eliminate the loopholes and require pasture-bsed systems for ruminants and
true outdoor access for access for all farm animals. Do not allow physical
alterations such as de-beaking and de-toeing in organic production. Proposed
[205.238(a)(5); 205.239(b)(2)].

* I Support Small Organic Family Farmers.
The USDA proposal must provide lower fees for family farmers; develop a
cost-share program for small farmers; support the NOSB's equitable import
recommendations; and protect organic farmers from geneticaly engineered
pollution and pesticide drift. Proposed [205.201; 205.202; 205.500(c);
205.640; 205.642; 205.671; 205.672].

* I Want Higher Standards.
Organic farmers and certifiers must be able to develop organic standards
that exceed the proposed USDA standards. the proposed standards should be a
floor, not a ceiling. Proposed [205.400; 205.501; 205.505].

* I Don't Want the USDA to Back Down.
The USDA should stand strong on the following:
  - Ban Feeding Animals to Animals to Prevent Mad Cow Disease.
    Proposed [205.237(b)(5)].

  - Require Use of 100% Organic Animal Feeds.
    Proposed [205.237(a)].

  - Recognize the NOSB's Authority Over the National List.
    Proposed [205.600-205.607].

  - Create the 100% Organic Label.
    Proposed [205.307].

Thank you.

     Sincerely,


     signature:


          name:


       address:


city/state/zip:

----------end of sample letter----------

Further USDA contact & background information:

It's vital that you send your comments in by June 12, 2000. Refer to Docket
Number TMD-00-02-DR in all comments. You can review the rule in the 3/13/00
edition of the Federal Register (available at most libraries) or at
http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop

Further information is available in BioDemocracy News #25 posted along with
other information on the Organic Consumers Association website -
<http://www.purefood.org>
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This comment alert message and sample letter were transcribed by Ericka
Dana, http://www.catnipfarm.com from Organic Watch and the Organic Consumers
Association material. Please forgive and correct any typos I may
have missed. Thank you to Organic Watch (the Center for Food Safety, Rural
Advancement Foundation & The Humane Society of the United States), the
Organic Consumers Association and California SAWG for this information.
Other recommended websites:
Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and
Technology - http://www.psrast.org
Food First - http://www.foodfirst.org
Institute for Ag and Trade Policy - http://www.iatp.org
Union of Concerned Scientists - http://www.ucs.org
General information on GE food - http://www.biotech-info.net
Sustain USA - http://www.sustain.org/biotech/
Center for Rural Affairs, Walthill, Neb. - http://www.cfra.org/MSAWG-GE.htm
Institute for Local Self Reliance, Minneapolis - http://www.ilsr.org
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) - http://www.panna.org
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