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USDA Organic Audit: Procedures for Approving Synthetics Followed, Allegations of Corruption Unexamined

By The Cornucopia Institute  Posted by Will Fantle (about the submitter)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 2 pages)
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Headlined to None 7/29/12

opednews.com

Cornucopia prepared an examination of the Technical Review for the NOSB, which clearly outlined biased and unsubstantiated health claims in the document, which violates mandated procedures.

"Making health claims, supporting the petition by Martek Biosciences, without substantiating them with scientific citations in the Technical Review provided to the NOSB is a grave disservice to its members, who generally do not have a scientific background, as well as to the organic community at large," said Vallaeys.

The OIG report states, "We did not attempt to evaluate the accuracy or completeness of any scientific technical reports or petitions" and "" We are not reaching any conclusion as to the merits of the complaint itself."

"The real controversy here, concerning what we are calling The Organic Watergate, is all about improper and illegal corporate influence and the outcome of the process that has resulted in illegal synthetic materials being blessed for use in organic food.  We are disappointed that the OIG did not take the time to investigate these serious allegations," Kastel lamented.

"There is a higher authority than the USDA, as to the propriety of how organic food is produced, and I'm not even talking about the federal courts.  I'm talking about the organic consumer.  And they will vote last in the marketplace in support of organic brands that do not play fast and loose with the goodwill of their customers," Kastel stated.

To illustrate the brevity of the OIG's review only about 2 2/3 pages, of the 12 page report actually addressed their audit findings and methodology, including the executive summary.  The balance consisted of a cover letter, table of contents, background on the USDA's organic program, and abbreviations used in the document.

"We have a lot of respect for the OIG, and its independence, and are disappointed that this report did not address the serious allegations of influence peddling and corruption in the decision-making process at the NOP," stated Cornucopia's Kastel.  "To my knowledge, no individual or organization has ever suggested that the USDA was not following legal procedures in the NOSB review process.  The allegations are that the process is being followed but has been corrupted."

Over the past year, the powerful Organic Trade Association (OTA) has partnered with agribusinesses like General Mills, Dean Foods, Smuckers and biotechnology giants like DSM/Martek to grease through a number of gimmicky synthetic ingredients, over the objection of every nonprofit, public interest group that has submitted formal comments to the NOSB.

At the upcoming fall meeting, there will be nine more synthetic materials, including two synthetic preservatives and one synthetic antimicrobial, that the industry is trying to approve for use in organics.

"We hope consumers will continue to seek out locally produced and wholesome organic food, and processed foods from reputable companies, that have not engaged in questionable behavior," Kastel said.

"Companies like Nutiva, Eden Foods, or Nature's Path, the largest breakfast cereal company that produces 100% organic nutrient-dense foods, are proving that you can be large, multimillion-dollar enterprises, profitable, and rapidly growing, without selling-out the values that this industry was based upon," Kastel added.

Eden Foods CEO, Michael Potter, attended  last May's NOSB meeting to firmly tell the board that they should be operating under the "precautionary principle" when reviewing all additives in organics.  He clearly acknowledged in his testimony that he was "not an Organic Trade Association member."

Consumers seeking out organic foods of the highest integrity can find a series of scorecards and buyers guides to help their decision-making process at: www.cornucopia.org

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