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[Fwd: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle] (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 10:27:16 -0500
From: Allen Spalt <aspalt@mindspring.com>
Reply-To: organic-certification@listserv.oit.unc.edu
To: Organic Certification <organic-certification@listserv.oit.unc.edu>
Cc: Erick Umstead <eumstead@exploris.org>,
    Molley Diggins <ncsierra@mindspring.com>,
    Laura Lauffer <cfsa@sunsite.unc.edu>,
    Michael Sligh <msligh@rafiusa.org>
Subject: [Fwd: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle]

>Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 09:55:36 -0600
>From: Terry Shistar <tshistar@falcon.cc.ukans.edu>
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>To: Jay Feldman <ncamp@igc.apc.org>, Allen Spalt <aspalt@pop.mindspring.com>,
>        Norma Grier <ngrier@pesticide.org>,
>        Jim and Nancy Chuda <chec@checnet.org>,
>        Dan Wartenberg <dew@eohsi.rutgers.edu>,
>        Eric Kindberg <erorganic@aol.com>, Erik Jansson <ncamp@igc.apc.org>,
>        Laura Cabellero <lrosas@juno.com>, Liza Prior Lucy <lizalucy@aol.com>,
>        Lorna Donaldson-McMahon <lornadm@aol.com>,
>        Ruth Berlin <iraruthjes@aol.com>, Tessa Hill <kseww@aol.com>,
>        Terry Shistar <tshistar@falcon.cc.ukans.edu>,
>        John Wargo <john.wargo@yale.edu>, Shelley Davis <sdavis@nclr.org>,
>        Gregg Small <greggsmall@aol.com>
>Subject: [Fwd: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle]
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>Date: Fri, 27 Feb 98 10:12:47 -0800
>To: <neil_carman@greenbuilder.com>, <marti@internetmci.com>,
>        <tshistar@falcon.cc.ukans.edu>,
>        <debbie.neustadt@sfsierra.sierraclub.org>,
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>Subject: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle
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>to:  Organic Rule Team
>From:  Doris
>Over 120 people signed up to testify.  Time was extended until 7 PM.  I
>believe they will have extended hours at Rutgers also.  They have had to find
>a bigger room at Rutgers since so many have signed up.  I will contact the NJ
>Conservation Chair to see if they have someone, maybe someone in New
>Brunswick, who could go to the hearing.  WSDA said we would see the next draft
>but did not commit to public hearings after the rule is revised.  Several of
>us called for hearings in other states and better hours.
>We were told that at the three hearings so far NO ONE has testified in support
>of the draft rules.  As of Tuesday Feb. 24, 11,000 comments had been received
>and could be read on their web page.  A man from a foundation in Chicago that
>is following the issue - Lets Keep Organic "Organic" - gave me his card after
>I spoke.  They have a website: www.saveorganic.org
>About 50 people young and old dressed as veggies and fruit held a rally at the
>Space Needle and then came to the hearing chanting about dumping the rule.
>They got the most TV coverage. Staff faxed out my press release but I have not
>seen any coverage yet of Sierra Club speaking out.  People appreciated our
>speaking up, however.  I made the point that we were ther to support
>them because organic growers protect water quality; they depend on a clean
>environment.  They have struggled for over 20 years to learn how to rebuild
>depleted soils and grow safe food in a "polluted world".  Now that they are
>successful, now that polls tell us that consumers will pay MORE for organic
>food, the multinationals want to take over the term and share in the profits.
>Testimony was largely from organic growers, coming from Alaska, Montana,
>Oregon, etc.  It was said that their industry has ALREADY been hurt by the
>PUBLIC perception that "organic" is linked to many contaminants.  Washington
>state testified as to how the rules would destroy our very successful
>certification program, which is far more stringent.  WA has certified 295
>organic farms and 73 processors.  Growers suggested that they adopt
>Washington's programs.  Hearing officers said that Texas and Iowa also claimed
>their programs were best and should be adopted.
>I stayed to hear 78 people testify what was said was very interesting.  It
>was implied that the rule got really bad when OMB got their hands on it.
>Everyone acts helpless about this.  Can Congress do domething about this?
>Defazio and Metcalf sent people to speak for them and Rep. Metcalf made a
>speech on the floor of the House on Tuesday.
>The farmers identified a lot of loopholes, costs of really unnecessary
>nitpicky recordkeeping, standards that could be different for every farm so
>the bureaucracy would inflate. I did not realize the USDA was given discretion
>to allow food to be grown on contaminated land that had not been cleaned up.
>I will have to check this.
>A major concern was the "gag order" that would restrict labeling as to how
>food was produced.  It would provide a legal basis for prosecuting producers
>for giving information to consumers that they need to make wise choices.  The
>ACLU may become involved.  Threat to right to know.  People can't control
>their air or water, want to have some control over food.
>Norma Grier explained that only 8 of the 2500 known inerts would be
>prohibited.  They only mention 2 kinds of inerts, but there are actually 5.
>Many commented that if these USDA standards were adopted, small growers,
>losing their market niche,  would go out of business.  Organic food consumers
>could trust would not be available, and consumers would buy imported organic
>food from countries which still have stringent standards.  US growers would
>also lose export markets in Europe and the Far East because they could not
>meet their organic standards.  It was suggested that this was the start of
>globalized reductions in standards.  One organic producer said that they
>should tell EPA and the Administration to stop forcing their weak standrads
>for toxic waste onto the food industry.
>Rewriting the dictionary. "Organic" should be defined by how the people view
>organic, ie pure and natural, not by how multinational corporations want to
>rewrite the dictionary.