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Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA



Mar 19, 2003
Press Release
[Washington, D.C.] “  Congressman Brad Sherman joined with Congressman Sam Farr and others in introducing legislation, H.R. 955, to preserve the National Organic Standard and repeal Section 771 of the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

The National Organic Standard, which ensures that an organic product is cultivated by a certified process and not affected by pesticides, chemicals or special growth hormones, was placed in jeopardy when Republican Leaders in the House of Representatives snuck a special provision into a 3,000 page appropriations bill.

"Section 771 could unravel the National Organic Standard and effect all consumers interested in buying ˜organic foods. While it looks like just one exception, and an exception that would not affect vegetarians, if the meat industry is able to defend this exception it will be the first of many exceptions," explained Sherman. "It is critical for consumers that the integrity of the word ˜organic be preserved. When shoppers buy food labeled ˜organic they should not have to wonder whether those foods are ˜organic."

Specifically, Section 771 stated that under some conditions meat can be labeled as ˜organic even if the animals are fed conventional non-organic feedstock, including genetically-engineered feedstock.

The first legislated standards were passed in 1990 by the California legislature, and were later used by the federal government as the basis for national legislation. The National Organic Standard is the culmination of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which authorized the USDA to set uniform minimum standards for organic production. Over the last ten years, the organic agriculture sector that has grown 20% each year, becoming an $11 billion industry.