The Organic Foods Movement: Led By Multinational Corporations Or We The People?

In the past few weeks, the USDA has once again attempted to weaken the federal organics standards that so many Americans have worked hard to enshrine into federal law. These changes would have allowed food labeled as “USDA Organic” to contain hormones and antibiotics in dairy cattle, pesticides on produce and potentially contaminated fishmeal as feed for livestock. As happened with a number of other outrageous recent USDA actions, citizens groups and the organic food industry rallied in opposition, and were successful in reversing the proposed changes.

The newest round of protests against such changes reminds us of the more than 200,000 letters Americans sent to the USDA back in 1997/98 pleading with the agency to not allow toxic sludge, irradiated food, and GMOs to be included in a list of allowable food growing practices for the then-new federal organic food regulations. The USDA backed down then as well, in the face of the outpouring of public opinion. It seems we have won again. Or have we?

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