Feeling confident that the fish you are frying for dinner is 'organic' or that the shampoo you slather into your hair is free of the kinds of chemicals that could make it fall out prematurely? Don't be too sure, now that the Bush administration has pulled the plug on policing organic labels on non-agricultural products. The decision made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program on April 14 is 'literally opening the door for unscrupulous companies to put bogus organic labels on products such as fish, body care products, pet foods, fertilizer, and clothing,' writes the Organic Consumers Association on its website, which also includes a 'Take Action' petition that readers can send to Anne Venneman, the USDA's Secretary of Agriculture.
As if this isn't scary enough, the USDA announced controversial new directives on national organic standards on April 28 that basically state: 'ignorance is bliss.' The Organic Consumer Association reports, 'as long as the farmer and the organic certifier don't know the specific ingredients of the pesticides applied to the 'organic' plants, the crops can be sold as 'organic.'' When it comes to 'organic' cows, the 12-month stay on milk from Bessie after she has been injected with synthetic growth hormones still applies. But, the website states: 'Many of these drugs build up in the body fat and are released in the milk and meat from these animals. If this new directive is allowed to stand, organic milk could potentially contain residues of drugs and hormones.'
Meanwhile, the USDA will now allow cattle and beef that were fed
non-organic fishmeal frequently containing mercury and other
dangerous chemicals to be sold as 'organic.' Yet even a child knows
that what begins at the top of the food chain doesn't stop until it
reaches the bottom.
-- Jacob Wheeler
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