Although the USDA, under tremendous pressure from the organic community,
announced on May 26 they were reversing four recent directives that
would have significantly degraded national organic standards, on June 10
they partially reversed themselves, telling the National Organic
Standards Board that one of the controversial directives, the "scope"
directive, would still remain in effect.
Basically this means that the
USDA National Organic Program is refusing to monitor or police organic
label claims on what they have narrowly and erroneously defined as
non-food or non-agricultural products (i.e. body care products,
vitamins, nutritional supplements, fertilizers, and even seafood),
giving the green light to unscrupulous companies to call their products
"organic" even if they are not.
In the case of abdicating responsibility over body care products,
vitamins, and nutritional supplements, the USDA bureaucrats used the
excuse that the Food and Drug Administration, notorious for its cozy
relationship with cosmetic companies and drug giants, has legal
jurisdiction in this sector. But of course, since the FDA has neither
the desire nor the expertise to administer an organic program for
supplements and body care products, this potential multi-billion dollar
industry will be allowed to operate in a regulatory void, opening up the
door for rampant consumer fraud in the marketplace.
As the OCA has
repeatedly pointed out, the natural products marketplace is already
flooded with body care products fraudulently labeled as organic. Stay
tuned to OCA's "Safeguard Organic Standards" campaign.
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