Katherine DiMatteo, Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association, asked me to send this on her behalf:
In response to Organic Is Dead, Long Live Organic, by Stett Holbrook:
Thanks to the recent bipartisan legislative action, which overturned a court ruling from earlier this year, the majority of processed, multi-ingredient organic products currently in the marketplace can continue to carry the "USDA Organic" seal provided they meet or exceed those stringent federal standards. This issue is not about large versus small businesses, but that organic businesses of all sizes can continue to provide their products to consumers.
Let's be clear about U.S. organic standards: No synthetic ingredients may be allowed in organic production without the approval of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a citizen's advisory council to the United States Department of Agriculture. Like organic standards elsewhere, U.S. organic standards have always allowed a limited list of specific stringently reviewed synthetic materials in organic agriculture and post-harvest handling and processing. All 38 items allowed for processing, including baking powder, vitamin E, and carbon dioxide, were reviewed and accepted by NOSB. Regardless of size, any business that wants to use the word organic on their food products must meet or exceed the National Organic Standards.
The National Organic Program was designed with checks and balances. The list of materials allowed for farming and handling must be reviewed every five years. Any synthetic substance deemed to have an organic or natural alternative in ready supply can be removed from the National List. Organic businesses will continue to lead the way in developing innovative options for food production, but that takes a stable regulatory environment.
Thanks to the legislative action to restore the national organic program that was developed through over a decade of public input, consumers can still purchase their favorite products with the "USDA Organic" seal, and farmers can continue to have outlets for their organic crops. Growth, not the demise, of the organic business community means more farms using organic practices, resulting in greater environmental and public health benefits for everyone. To learn more, visit http://www.ota.com/.
Organic Trade Association