Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

It's Time to Take Back the Organic Community

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When Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, it included an important buffer assuring the organic community that we would never lose control over the true meaning of the organic label: a diverse 15-member stakeholder board that had true statutory authority and power - the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

Citizens and farmers created organics as an alternative to industrial-scale agriculture and food production. As companies like Dean Foods, General Mills (hiding behind the facades of WhiteWave and Small Planet Foods respectively), Smucker's and other agribusiness giants invested in gobbling up organic brands (Silk, Horizon, Cascadian Farms, Knutson, etc.), they sent their lobbyists and the Organic Trade Association to Washington.

During the Bush and Obama administrations, they found a receptive audience at the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. Big Ag was no longer fighting organics - they wanted to own it. And they wanted to shift the focus away from sustainable, regenerative agriculture and humane animal husbandry to models they knew and loved: environmentally exploitative mono-cropping, factory farm livestock production, and container ships filled with cheap organic commodities from countries like China.

And they wanted to use many of the same synthetic ingredients, nutraceuticals, flavorings, colors and processing chemicals that made manufacturing processed food cost effective and "attractive" in the marketplace. Only this time they would add a higher profit margin and package it in a green wrapper.

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