A few days ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) called in San Antonio police to arrest some vocal activists who wanted to be heard at a National Organic Standards Board Meeting (NOSB). The NOSB was discussing the integrity of organic foods which are currently jeopardized by the USDA and Obama’s political appointee’s that are working to undo over 20 years of congressionally-mandated standards for keeping organic food safe.
The NOSB meeting was expected to be contentious, and attended by a diverse crowd of organic food supporters, including organic farmers, consumer activists, and food watch groups that are trying to keep the USDA accountable to the American people instead of special interest groups like Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association. One of the activists in attendance was Alexis Baden Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association. She was arrested after leading a determined protest against the latest Big Ag antics: the imminent watering down of organic standards by the USDA.
What is even more appalling is that USDA representative, Miles McEvoy, had illegally taken over the meeting, underhandedly calling himself ‘co-chair’ in an effort to establish his dominancy over the vocal organic supporters. The NOSB, who was holding the meeting, is allegedly an independent organization who helped to pen the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990.
By using police force, and taking away Mayer in handcuffs, the USDA and its special interests essentially infiltrated another agency meant to make sure that organic food standards are kept high.
- Reducing the scientific rigor for determinations which allow synthetic ingredients in our food, and non-organic food into production for the masses.
- A reduction in the transparency of decision making about what food we eat.
- Limitations in public participation concerning how policies and procedures affecting our food supply are implemented.
- Stonewalling the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and organic community to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic issues that affect everyone, not just corporate bottom lines.
- Change organic food policy from one driven by public demand to one controlled by the FDA and USDA – giving critical decision making skills to organizations which have proven to be infiltrated by special interests.
Activists like Maker are trying to keep degradations like the recent USDA decision to change the “sunset” policy — without any kind of public review. Because of this, companies that wanted to include a non-organic (synthetic) ingredient in certified organic foods previously had to apply for an exemption which would expire after five years unless it was re-exempted by a decisive, two-thirds majority vote of the National Organic Standards Board.
Thanks to the police state, you can kiss that goodbye, unless more activists are willing to stand as Mayer did, and even be arrested, to make sure we can all eat foods that aren’t manufactured by mad scientists in a lab somewhere.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.