May 3, 2021
NOSB members air ongoing ‘concern’ with US organic program
Past and present members of the National Organic Standards Board recently aired some concerns with the National Organic program.
An open letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was signed by three present members of the board, as well as 38 others who have served in the past from 2020 going back to 1992.
“We are writing to share with you our concern that the integrity of the National Organic Standards has eroded significantly over the years. In some cases, the Standards have devolved from the original intention of OFPA … In other cases, a lack of strong enforcement of existing standards has led to well documented cases of fraud and an economic burden on organic operators who follow the rules, versus those who do not. We think the erosion of the Organic Standards is in violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and is undermining consumer confidence in the integrity of organic food and the confidence of real organic farmers in the integrity of the USDA National Organic Program.”
In addition to grain fraud and livestock welfare concerns, the letter mentions hydroponics and aeroponics growing practices the signees see as conflicting with the Production Standard for Terrestrial Plants in Containers and Enclosures (Greenhouses) passed by the NOSB in 2010.
The letter was distributed April 22 in connection with Earth Day. Besides Vilsack, other recipients included members of congress who serve on the House or Senate agriculture committees, and White House agriculture policy assistant Kelliann Blazek.
The entire letter is posted on realorganicproject.org.
Above, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks at a 2016 event. Photo: Patti Finke/USDA