Friday, December 11, 2015 by Julie Wilson
The superior food quality standards placed on organic food in the U.S. are under attack by corporate representatives from Big Agra who have crept their way onto the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
In recent years, the board has lost its transparency, favoring and even granting, anonymity to large-scale producers in violation of organic standards, weakened its caliber for regulating synthetic materials and abolished a subcommittee responsible for maintaining ethical oversight.
The 15-member advisory board was created in 1990 by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and designed to make recommendations intended to preserve and protect the organic farming industry.
However, those passionate about organic food are not standing by idly. Taking an aggressive stand is the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based research group that provides information regarding sustainable and organic agriculture to consumers and family farmers.
The non-profit is taking action through the filing of a proxy letter against the alleged corruption at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and calling on Secretary Tom Vilsack to replace the board’s management. Click here to print out a copy of the proxy letter and either mail or fax it to the information provided.(1)
Cornucopia decided to use a proxy letter after being told by USDA officials that online petitions mean nothing because they are so many of them in circulation. However, when tangible boxes of proxy letters are delivered to the agency, employees must “scan each letter into their system and type out each name to reply. Thousands of these proxies, literally, carry a lot of weight.”
Miles McEvoy became director of the National Organic Program in 2009. His background in organic certification and inspection made him appear to be a good candidate, says Cornucopia. However, his actions have proved that he’s completely sold out to the special interests of Big Agriculture.
“Mr. McEvoy has stripped much of the power from the NOSB. Along with the illegal stacking of the board with agribusiness executives instead of working farmers, this body has become a rubber stamp for corporate/industrial organics,” Cornucopia says.
In 2013, McEvoy said the board was entering the “age of enforcement” in which violators of organic standards would be penalized and held accountable; however, the opposite has transpired.
Instead of going after large-scale “organic” producers violating the federal standards, NOSB has cracked down on smaller operators – likely in an attempt to eliminate competition for corporations set on cutting corners to piggyback off healthy food trends, instead of maintaining sustainable and humanely produced food practices – the heart and soul of the organics movement.
Cornucopia and 14 other stakeholders have filed a lawsuit challenging the NOSB changes implemented by McEvoy. The non-profit is accusing the board and McEvoy of the following:
For more information on corporate influence subverting organic standards, click here.
To learn about Cornucopia’s investigation into organic fraud, click here.