'When a government agency, the National Organic Program, that pretends to represent the organic community instead represents USDA bureaucrats and corporate profiteers, it's time for organic consumers and our allies to rise up and take back control over organic standards and practices.' ' Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association
On Tuesday (April 29) this week, OCA political director Alexis Baden-Mayer was hauled off in handcuffs when she refused to end the Organic Consumers Association's protest of illegally made changes to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) policy for approving and removing non-organic materials from organics.
End of story? Not on your life.
The battle to recapture control of the organic and natural food and products system, which has fallen under the control of corporate and government self-interests, is a long-term one. And we intend to see it through.
In the coming weeks, OCA will formally announce the formation of the Organic and Natural Health Trade Association. The new association will be open only to those companies and organizations that adhere to strict, ethical organic and natural health standards.
Greenwashers need not apply.
In the meantime, the battle to overturn the NOP's recent decision is far from over. And we have some heavy hitters on our side.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), both of whom were principal authors of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, have written to USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to voice their disapproval of the NOP's latest power grab.
Ditto former NOSB chairs Jim Riddle, Jeff Moyer and Barry Flamm, who wrote that the recent changes 'unilaterally enacted by the USDA's National Organic Program . . . significantly erode the authority, independence and input of the NOSB.'
The NOP may have to arrest a lot more people before this showdown is over. Is that really how the USDA wants to run its organic program?