The meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Texas is drawing notice, with the Cornucopia Institute and Consumer Reports weighing in on the deliberations. Cornucopia suggests following the fireworks of the meeting at #NOSB.
From Consumer Reports, a news release describes a poll where consumers were asked about antibiotic use on apples and pears and frames other issues.
Excerpts from the release:
While federal law prohibits synthetic substances in organic agriculture and food processing, including synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and artificial food ingredients, the law also allows exempted materials to be used for five years. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the 15-member expert citizen panel charged by Congress with the important task of determining which synthetic substances can be listed as exempt.
This week’s NOSB meeting in San Antonio will include deliberations on several material exemptions, including the antibiotic streptomycin’s use on apples and pears, synthetic materials for aquaculture (before standards for organic fish have been defined), artificial ingredients (methionine) in poultry feed, and how these exemptions are handled after the five-year permitted-use period has ended.
The organization has long opposed the proliferation of exemptions and their renewed listing given this does not represent what consumers expect from the organic label. The recent survey from the Consumer Reports National Research Center underscores this point with 7 out of 10 Americans expressing they wanted as few artificial ingredients as possible.
“Despite the fact that the public does not want a host of artificial ingredients in their organic food, some national advisers and decision-makers in the National Organic Program have overtly expressed a desire to grow the exemption list in order to grow the organic market. We believe this violates the public’s trust of what organic means,” says Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Executive Director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.