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The Organic Watergate: Advocates Condemn Corruption and USDA’s Cozy Relationship with Corporate Agribusinesses in Organics

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics  page and our Safeguard Organic Standards page.

Cornucopia, WI - The nation's leading organic farming watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, is challenging what it calls a "conspiracy" between corporate agribusiness interests and the USDA that has increasingly facilitated the use of questionable synthetic additives and even dangerous chemicals in organic foods. In its new white paper, The Organic Watergate, Cornucopia details violations of federal law, ignoring congressional intent, that has created a climate of regulatory abuse and corporate exploitation.

When Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 it set up an independent advisory panel, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that, uniquely, has statutory power. Any synthetic input or ingredient used in organic farming or food production must be reviewed by the NOSB to assure that it is not a threat to human health or the environment.

The Cornucopia report charges the USDA with "stacking" the NOSB with agribusiness executives that all too often have "sold out" the interests of organic farmers and consumers.

"The organic community came together and actually asked the government, in order to maintain a level playing field and organic integrity, to regulate our industry," said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute. "How many other industries have ever asked the federal government for tough regulations and enforcement?" 


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