Organic farming watchdog the Cornucopia Institute is accusing the USDA of conspiring with corporate agribusiness interests to facilitate the increasing use of synthetic additives and chemicals in what is meant to be organic food, undermining the purpose of the National Organic Program.
According to the Cornucopia Institute’s report, The Organic Watergate, the USDA has been stacking the National Organic Standards Board with corporate executives. The organization points out that Congress has purposefully earmarked a majority of the seats on the board specifically for farmers, consumers, scientists and environmentalists in order to make sure there was a balance of power with commercial interests. Upon closer examination, however, the Cornucopia Institute found that many of the scientists who are providing “independent” reviews are actually working for corporate agribusiness.
The watchdog is asking concerned citizens to print out, sign and mail in this proxy letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and NOSB Chairman Barry Flamm, asking them to re-examine some suspect decisions that have already been made, and to refine the process of assigning and vetting board members in order to avoid these conflicts of interest in the future. Although the letter also includes a donation form, no financial support is necessary in order to have your letter included in the package that will be hand delivered to the USDA.