Organics Board to Review Rules for BPA, GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals

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Apple with chemicals. This is an URGENT ACTION ALERT! The deadline for comments is this week.

The National Organic Standards Board will be meeting later this month in Louisville. Fundamental issues that will determine the future of organic foods will be discussed and voted upon.

The NOSB has proposed a new research priority: whether to prohibit BPA (the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A) in the packaging used for organic foods “in light of mounting evidence that it may be harmful.”

There have been calls for increased research on suitable alternatives, but as we have reported previously, many alternatives are as dangerous as BPA, if not worse. Just banning BPA without banning the almost-as-bad or the just-as-bad-or-worse alternatives won’t help. That is just sweeping the problem under the rug. More research is required to identify and promote truly viable substitutes.

It is vitally important that citizens support this research priority—it’s the first step to ultimately banning BPA in favor of safer solutions. Research should be conducted in a timely manner, followed by prompt rulemaking. Letting the research and rulemaking drag out indefinitely could be used as a delaying tactic, in the hope that the public will just forget about the BPA problem.

The NOSB is also engaged in researching the best way to handle GMO cross-contamination, as we discussed last year. We have found it troubling that in order to avoid GMO contamination, the burden falls on organic producers following best organic practices, not on farmers who use GMOs and actually do the cross-contamination. It’s been especially worrying since no final product testing of organic food is required to check for GMO contamination.

Encouragingly, the NOSB is now considering shifting some of the onus onto GMO producers and the agencies that oversee them, asking them to follow best practices to avoid contamination of organics (such as planting a safe distance away). However, the research is just in the preliminary stage, and there is no guarantee that it will have any “teeth” when the final rules are developed. Given the ubiquity of GMOs in the US, it appears that GMO contamination will be inevitable—as we saw in the GMO contamination of Oregon wheat fields—unless strong measures are taken. Now the same thing has happened in Montana, as we report in this article, also a part of this week’s issue of The Pulse.

The NOSB is considering broadening the definition of “genetically modified organism” to include new technologies. Current definitions, including the Codex definition, are narrow and don’t encompass emerging GMO methodologies.* ANH-USA supports a broader definition, which will help ensure that GMOs are not allowed to creep into organic food.

On the downside, the NOSB is delaying any discussion of banning GMO vaccines on organic livestock—an issue the board has been working on for over a year. The board is citing the lack of agreement on how GMOs are defined, together with the difficulties in properly identifying GMO vaccines, as reasons for the delay. They have not even agreed upon a timeline or next steps for this issue.

As for the list of ingredients allowed in organic foods, the NOSB’s committees have recommended that the sunset dates for synthetic ingredients currently on the list not be extended, and that new synthetic ingredients not be added to the list. You may recall that at their last meeting, the board considered extending the sunset date for an antibiotic used in organic production, but due to a public outcry, especially from our grassroots activists, the measure failed.

The importance of NOSB decisions cannot be underestimated. They will either protect or destroy the purity of organic criteria—standards that consumers can rely on in the face of factory farming, conventional farming and pest-abatement practices, and GMOs. We must be vigilant in the face of corporate interests taking over the organics industry. When organic certification became a government function, it opened the door to crony capitalists. We need to close that door.

ANH-USA will be submitting a formal comment; we may also attend the meeting to provide our comment orally. Urgent Action Alert! The deadline for submitting your comments is October 7, so please send your message to the NOSB today! Tell the board what your priorities are—to keep organic foods truly organic. Please take action immediately!


Take-Action11

*Editer’s Note: Edited Oct 2, 2014.

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  • Kirstine

    Question comes to mind. How would vaccanating anmials for Gmo’s help people?

  • WE must protect true organic farmers and prohibit contamination from GMO’s into our food supply. By the time NOSB let’s us know how bad GMO’s are really contamining us it may be too late for our children.

  • L Chamberlain

    Hello: It is a RIGHT for the AMERICAN PEOPLE to have NON-GMO foods and for
    GMO foods to be labelled properly. Also providing for means to inhibit cross-contamination to Organic produce from GMO product + non toxic packaging for
    Organic Foods and all foods is essential to the Health of American People.
    Your organization was created to “protect” the American people not harm them.
    PROTECT OUR FOOD SUPPLY!

  • Jeanne Chang

    Organic foods should be labeled and protected as organic. GMO vaccines should not be given to anyone, animals nor humans. We cannot allow gmos to contaminate our organic food supply, therefore, research and experimentation, and development of GMO foods should be stopped immediately.

  • Joyce

    GMO seed producers should be compelled to pay for a 6 months or longer study of the produce grown from their seeds and it should be done by an independent laboratory.

    • Greg Gregg

      Two or three years would be more sufficient from all of the studies that I have seen….

  • T.R.

    If mother nature didn’t make it, it doesn’t belong in our food.

  • Juli Loupe

    DO NOT DILUTE ORGANIC STANDARDS.
    The importance of NOSB decisions cannot be underestimated. They will either protect or destroy the purity of organic criteria—standards that consumers can rely on in the face of factory farming, conventional farming and pest-abatement practices, and GMOs. We must be vigilant in the face of corporate interests taking over the organics industry. When organic certification became a government function, it opened the door to crony capitalists. We need to close that door.

  • lisa morales

    Lets do the right thing and Transperancy on our food!

  • Please keep organic foods truly. Please see that GMO producers avoid contamination of organics.

  • Linda Kay

    Is there such a thing as a little “ebola”? A little “MARSA”? A little “cyanide”? GMO’s are a contaminate! Sixty four countries have required labeling of these products in their food supply, and all of them have regulations in place regarding contamination. Why are we so far behind other countries? Do we need the threat of a global genocide to enforce strict penalties for these offenses? Please let the citizens know you are on their side and not tied into the arrogance of biotech companies.

  • Maria B

    Please tell me why thousands of people have the common sense about the practices of organic farming and animal farming, being, harmful, poisonous, unhealthy, deadly in some cases, cross contaminations, bpa dangers, food dyes, high frucose, gmos, etc It wasn’t always like this. How did we get here? The crony capitalists of course. The government letting the corporations take over the organic industry has to stop already! Doesn’t anyone just say NO! IT’S NOT GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE!!! We want conventional organic farming farmed with a clean environment and water, no fake franken ingredients, antibiotics or agent orange dna. No gmos. Argh!

  • I urge the NOSB to ban BPA, GMOs and any antibiotics from our food supply before the damage cannot be reversed. I demand that more research be done to assess the dangers of these chemicals and that we stop extending the deadlines for any of these products, as we all know they are not safe. I am the mother of six children and I intend to do whatever I can to ensure that all of these terrible chemicals are eliminated.

  • Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion on such an important matter, which affects everyone. My comment on the subject was firm, as I know there’s a sense of urgency to deal with this problem. I’m not trying to be rude, but I do want to convey my feelings of discontent for the way our food is being contaminated behind closed doors. I hope my comment helps.

  • Annemarie G Wouda

    I agree with all as being for humans and animals best and not for money hungry ppl, they have to step at side before our Earth explode and more and more ppl get sick of food and also the Air

  • Franz Sigg

    Organic means organic. There is no room for GMO’s or people like Monsanto. They are the opposite of organic. I do want GMO labeling.

    Greetings, Franz Sigg

  • David J. Ogle MD

    I’m sure you don’t take interest in what I say as you have never responded to previous communications by yours truly. I am a former CAIM doc who had his civil rights violated. No one at ANH-USA has shown interest or bothered to even acknowledge my communication in the past. So, just in case you do so this time I apologize in advance. I realize and have always considered food as fundamental to our existence. And, healthy food is the answer. However, if we do not move on multiple levels, efforts to save our food will be hopeless. I urge someone from ANH-USA to contact me so that I may elaborate on my recommendation(s).

  • Michelle

    I am an organic consumer and when I am purchasing products that are labeled “organic” I really want to have the peace of mind that they are truly “organic” in every way. If the use of GMO’s is unstoppable in everyway, I think it only conscionable that GMO farmers must protect the contamination of the organic farmers crops. I truly believe that GMO foods and animal products will create more health issues than we have ever had before and looking at history, a good bit of the trends we have gone to have turned out to have horrible health ramifications. I will continue to not purchase products that do not carry a certified organic label and will grow my own before purchasing GMO grown produce. If you don’t in your heart think that GMO foods are bad then you won’t mind labeling your products as GMO grown.

  • Patty Berry

    Intuition tells me that all the additives that are being put in food and packaging are contributing to the obesity problems around the world. The growth hormones and GMO feeds that are given to animals are passed on to us and causing premature development in our children, not to mention the compromising of immune systems. It’s one of the reasons we have so many afflicted with extreme allergies today.
    The consciousness around these issues needs to be raised exponentially. Companies can still make a reasonable profit without hurting the very foundation of there profits which is public consumption. Take away the population, no matter how slowly, and the source of profit is gone. Common sense has to come back into the equation. WAKE UP corporate CEOs. It is my hope that those of you at the top don’t have to have yourselves and youir own families affected before you are willing to act appropriately.

  • Yvonne Hansen

    As a long time member of the oldest, continuously meeting organic gardening club in the world (Austin Organic Gardeners founded in 1948), I object to any changes in organic standards including processessing, but certainly no GMOs in any form, nor antibiotics use in animals or animal feed. Members of the NOSB must include growers and ranchers, scientists and researchers. a member from the organic food production world, but no one from a biotech corporation nor a feed lot operation. The mission of the NOSB and its policies must be consumer trust.

  • Steven Gruchawka

    These are my main concerns
    * GMOs (Genetically Mis-engineered “food”) irreversibly contaminating our food supply spreading ill health around the world (due to the mutant proteins they contain).
    * Corporations lobbying to diluting Organic standards so they can sell swill as “Organic”, making the label useless and the premium prices unjustified. More and more additives
    * What does “Organic” mean today. I have noticed some bulk products labeled OG1, OG2, OG3, i.e. 100% Organic, 95% Organic, 75% Organic. On retail packages only those that have the green “USDA Organic” label are 100% Organic. While OG2 and OG3 can both have the seal of the certifying agency on them, but not the USDA Organic label. This is good – at least they are labeled, so we can make a choice.
    * If non-GMO foods are grown using chemical fertilizers (hence not Organic by definition) but no pesticides or fungicides, etc, I would prefer eating those to “Organic” that are sprayed with “approved” pesticides or have other “approved” additives. There should be some label to accommodate those. “Natural” would be good, however, there is no definition to “Natural” so corporations have abused “Natural” on all sorts of food, including GMOs, that are not fit to eat.
    * Today I see young people complaining to each other like “old people” about all their aches and pains , “fibromyalgia” (an idiopathic term), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), etc. I am sure the mutant proteins in all these GMOs, and all the toxins are root causes.
    * Basically I want for myself, and for society, foods without poisons that can keep us all healthy long term.

  • marian schulze

    please use your brains , nothing is better then NATURAL

  • Doesn’t the Agency listed understand that our choice of food consumption is our only protection against rapidly increases of pathological disease. Who is there to protect us? Please, don’t mention the FDA, because if you look at their past record in protecting our health it will be dismal. Thank you. GTH

  • Lourdes Best

    It’s important that we have access to real organic goods. From the fields to our tables free off BPA or any other garbage..

  • thomas stephens

    since big food corp have bought just about all the organic companies around (except EDEN ) AND THEIR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PUT ON THE BOARD , how can i trust any request from you or any one connected with this program? put the EDEN people on the board and i will participate.

  • Andrew Weaver

    Organic means something to so many people. It means pure, raw, unchanged by chemical contamination. Which is why your board needs to make the proper choices in accordance with your own mission statement; “…NOC seeks to advance organic food and agriculture and ensure a united voice for organic integrity, which means strong, enforceable, and continuously improved standards to maximize the multiple health, environmental, and economic benefits that only organic agriculture affords…”

    Chemicals of any kind are not welcomed in any organic process. Life’s (humans, plants, animals) is to important to allow more chemicals to be consumed. Your actions of today shall be judged by those of tomorrow.

  • Cynthia Piper

    Ii would like to comment on the proposed new research priority: whether to prohibit the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A in the packaging used for organic foods “in light of mounting evidence that it may be harmful.” There have been calls for increased research on suitable alternatives, but many alternatives are as dangerous as BPA, if not worse.
    Just banning BPA without banning the deleterious alternatives won’t help. More research is required to identify and promote truly viable substitutes.
    It is extremely important that this research priority ultimately bans BPA in favor of safer solutions. Research should be conducted in a timely manner, followed by prompt rulemaking. Letting the research and rulemaking drag out indefinitely could be used as a delaying tactic, in the hope that the public will just forget about the BPA problem.

    The NOSB is also engaged in researching the best way to handle GMO cross-contamination. It is troubling that in order to avoid GMO contamination, the burden falls on organic producers following best organic practices, not on farmers who use GMOs and actually do the cross-contamination. The responsibility for cross contamination should be solely borne by the GMO user, and should be inspected regularly to ensure compliance.
    It is also a major concern that no final product testing of organic food is required to check for GMO contamination, which could be substantial.

    Encouragingly, the NOSB is now considering shifting some of the onus onto GMO producers and the agencies that oversee them, asking them to follow best practices to avoid contamination of organics , such as planting a safe distance away. However, it has been shown that pollinators can carry GMO altered pollen a considerable distance to cross contaminate organic or non-GMO crops.
    This research is just in the preliminary stage, and there is no guarantee that it will have any “teeth” when the final rules are developed. Given the ubiquity of GMOs in the US, it appears that GMO contamination will be inevitable if decisive action is not taken.
    The hubris which growers, legislators and regulators have exhibited,…

  • Sharon Talbot

    The removal of these chemicals from packaging, as well as strict testing for ANY genetic modification of food plants must start now. I have no doubt that these chemicals and herbicide resistant foods account for much of the rise in diseases like arthritis, asthma, cancer of all types and heart disease. What kind of world are we leaving to our children?

  • N Powers

    Please remember how important your decisions or non-decisions are as consumers try to eat right in the face of factory farming practices that are not accountable for the damage they do to so-called organic crops, gmo contamination and poisoning via synthetic ingredients. Do include the RNA methodology in the definition of genetically modified, do stop the use of genetically modified vaccines, do make factory farming accountable for the damage to organic crops and stop the progress of cross-contamination, and do support labelling as a means of determining what’s good to eat and what’s not.

  • Chris Ianuario

    Organic consumers want truly organic products. “Organic” by it’s very definition should not include any form of GMO or be treated with any type of non-organic herbicides or pesticides. Organic fruits and vegetables should only be fertilized with organic compost and fertilizers. Organic farming should be strictly regulated to ensure that the consumer gets the product he expects.

  • Barb

    Don’t just ban BPA–take the care to research how harmful the alternatives are. GMO is just wrong and I can tell by every lousy piece of bread I eat. All brands have a different texture than they used to before GMO.

  • David Adam

    When you finally comprehend just how much of a danger G,M.O.s are it might be too late…Can we have some unbias testing.?..I’ve farmed all my life and can tell you that any old style”organic farmer”KNOWS HOW to control pests WITHOUT these demented methods that toxify Life..Remeber that”The Environment”equates with Life Support System………….Best Wishes

  • mike dopson

    Label GMO’s! We deserve the right to decide

  • Lery Newman

    I applaud and support your efforts especially for the GMO issue. I do, however disagree strongly with your vendetta against products made with BPA. I know that the manufacturers making those plastics use an excess of the gases that are reacted with BPA so that no BPA is left in the product as BPA but only reacted to make very large molecules. BPA can only be leeched out of the plastic by heating it to the point of decomposition which is so high a temperature it should never be exposed to in normal use. Where is the research to show that BPA use in making plastics makes the plastics leech out BPA? PVC is made using vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is a known cancer causing material. Why isn’t your vendetta against plastics aimed at materials like that instead of those containing only reacted BPA?

  • william haegele

    Please err on the side of caution, not the side of corporate interests.
    They always make the greedy wrong decision when left to their own supervision.
    They never pay for the damage they cause, except when a watered down punishment is mediated.
    Remember, your kids grand children’s future is at stake.
    Are you ok with someday looking your grand children in the eye, telling them what you did and why you did it?

  • Lewis R. Lowden, DAV

    The old adage “Better Safe than Sorry” truly applies here, especially to the use of BPA (and related substances), and to all GMOs, and GMO Vaccines for Animals. Granted, Mother Nature creates new species that parallel human made GMO’s, as well as new molecules and other substances, but Her creations are all within Her evolutionary design of allowing the world’s ecosystems to evolve and contain billions of species living in harmony/symbiotic relationships that make up this diverse bio system, a bio system that is still (though currently diminishing at astounding rates) the primary, life sustaining, feature of this planet. However, Mother Nature, with exceptions, does this at a slow pace over time while we (Homo sapiens) are indiscriminately inserting modified or totally new species, enzyme’s, etc., into the ecosystem “at will” and without (apparent) regard to their long term effects or consequences to a sustainable environment/ecosystem.

    And for what, virtually always for personal and/or corporate avarice that is without apparent regard or concern for the long term effects of their short term profit motives; this corporate mind-set/mentality must change if there is to be future for any of us, at least as we now know and experience life to be on this little spaceship we call Home.

    • GerryH

      We have to keep Organic completely PURE. And the only way that is possible if the medications the animals receive are also organic and pure. Our government has been forcing the agricultural society to use medications and toxins for all of our food products. This is wrong. Years ago there were farmers who wanted to utilize good insects that devour the bad insects, just like God intended for us to use. But the government would not allow those farmers to use the insects, they suggested that the farmers had to utilize chemicals instead of going naturally. There are many ways that we can take care of our organic animals and grown food sources to be naturally secured without using chemicals that leach into our bodies from eating the foods that have been sprayed or GMO products that have toxins within the seeds.
      Years ago MOTHER EARTH magazine had many ways that we could keep our bodies clean and clear of toxins. There are natural cleansing products on the market that use NO Chemicals in their products.
      These natural products can be also used on certain plant life to disperse the insect that harms any and all grown foods. Between using straw on the ground to keep weeds down and using these natural products, my garden was abundant with all natural foods and had no problems with bugs.

  • Greg Gregg

    The cross contamination problem is enough to halt GMO production….
    Organic growers should not have to pay premiums for doing what is right and sustainable…
    Labeling should be mandatory and immediate…
    All chemicals should be banned and not tolerated…
    Long term studies should be conducted before any product hits the market and not deemed as equivalent…