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Future of Organic Food and Agriculture at Risk

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Cornucopia, WI-The Cornucopia Institute, one of the nation's leading organic industry watchdogs, is urging members of the USDA's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), in formal testimony, to vote to preserve the integrity of organic food and farming at its upcoming meeting in Savannah, Georgia.

Some of the hot button issues on the agenda, including using artificial preservatives and genetically modified ingredients, would seem Orwellian to many longtime organic farmers and consumers. The forecasted dustup will be debated by a USDA panel, deeply divided between corporate agribusiness representatives and organic advocates.

Under the Bush and Obama administrations, the USDA Secretaries have been criticized for appointing a significant number of corporate representatives, whose primary interest appears to be loosening the federal organic standards, allegedly in pursuit of enhanced profits.

"We think this meeting may well decide the fate of organic food and agriculture in this country," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute, which represents family-scale organic farmers and their consumer allies across the U.S.

The 15-member NOSB is a citizen panel, set up by Congress, to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic policy and rulemaking. Upcoming votes concern the use of genetically modified and synthetic additives that have been petitioned for use in organic foods and drinks, including baby foods and formula.


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