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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 <email@example.com>
To: Organic Certification <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Erick Umstead <email@example.com>,
Molley Diggins <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Laura Lauffer <email@example.com>,
Michael Sligh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Fwd: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle]
>Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 09:55:36 -0600
>From: Terry Shistar <email@example.com>
>To: Jay Feldman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Allen Spalt <email@example.com>,
> Norma Grier <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Jim and Nancy Chuda <email@example.com>,
> Dan Wartenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Eric Kindberg <email@example.com>, Erik Jansson <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Laura Cabellero <email@example.com>, Liza Prior Lucy <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Lorna Donaldson-McMahon <email@example.com>,
> Ruth Berlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Tessa Hill <email@example.com>,
> Terry Shistar <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> John Wargo <email@example.com>, Shelley Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> Gregg Small <email@example.com>
>Subject: [Fwd: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle]
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>Date: Fri, 27 Feb 98 10:12:47 -0800
>To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>,
>Subject: Organic Rules hearing in Seattle
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
>to: Organic Rule Team
>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.