March 7, 2000 (Washington) — The USDA seal that goes on meat and eggs may soon be on ‘organic’ nourishments as well. The nation’s first national benchmarks for such foods will be finalized by the conclusion of the year, Horticulture Secretary Daniel Glickman told columnists Tuesday.
Glickman said, “The natural name is about giving shoppers a choice and a definition of natural that takes the mystery out the method. Shoppers know what they’re buying and farmers know what’s expected of them.” The measures would not influence basic supply stores and restaurants.
In a major break from an introductory proposal the USDA issued in 1997, this proposal sets forward that food labeled as organic or as having organic fixings may not contain any hereditarily modified ingredients. Moreover, none of its fixings may be illuminated, and it may not be created using sewage sludge.
According to the USDA, “There is no current scientific prove” that these practices display “unacceptable risks to the environment or human health.” But in each case, it says it is reacting to the overwhelming preference of shoppers.
Organic nourishments would not, in any case, be pesticide-free beneath the rules. The proposition allows natural pesticides and certain made agents that the government accepts customers acknowledge. A few hundred thousand open comments, nearly all around negative, taken after the USDA’s 1997 proposition.
“Everyone is in high spirits,” Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Natural Exchange Association, told reporters. “The rules will deliver shoppers the confidence that they’ve been inquiring for years.” And Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., showed up with Glickman to commend the proposal.
The organic food industry is rapidly growing. DiMatteo tells WebMD that it could be a $6 billion retail advertise, with growth of over 20% in the final year. She says that the proposition may change things: “A few of those items that are sold as organic will not be labeled natural.”
Beneath the USDA proposition, specialists would certify those natural nourishment operations that delivered edibles with at least 95% natural substance. Foods with at least 50% organic ingredients would be labeled as containing “organic fixings.”
The proposal includes a national list of particular substances that can and cannot be used in the production of natural nourishment. It would permit, for case, preparing soda — not considered natural — to constitute up to 5% of the fixings, as long as the rest of the product was natural.
For natural food producers, the proposal would prohibit the “routine” confinement of animals and would require that creatures such as cows have access to outdoor field.
Glickman told reporters, “The natural classification isn’t a judgment around the quality or safety of any product. Natural is approximately how it is delivered. It may be a prepare issue. Fair because something is labeled as natural does not cruel that it is any safer or more sound than routine foods.”
But interest groups, such as traditional nourishment makers and biotech firms, discover the unused proposal unappetizing, dreading the “natural” seal may be interpreted as a quality or safety marker for food without genetically designed fixings.
In a explanation, Biotechnology Industry Organization official Val Giddings raised the fear that the USDA may be “lend[ing] its support to those who look for to criticize nourishments inferred from other, obviously safe and important production strategies.” He argued to the buyer benefits of hereditarily designed foods: “Biotechnology allows us to produce foods that contain more proteins, vitamins and minerals and less fat.”
Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, tells WebMD, “The proposition encourage demonstrates that shoppers truly do have a choice within the United States.”
And Stephen Barrett, MD, a self-appointed quackery watchdog, composes on his web site, “Natural certification, no matter what the rules, will not protect shoppers. [Organic foods] will fair taken a toll more and may lessen consumer certainty within the security of ‘ordinary’ foods.”
In any case, the natural industry may have gotten the better of this particular argument for now. Sansoni tells WebMD that he anticipates that the ultimate rules would be similar to those reported Tuesday. “I would be astounded on the off chance that they changed much,” he says.
After a 90-day comment period on the proposition, the USDA plans to issue a final rule. Concurring to the office, the modern benchmarks would be compelling 18 months from the date the final rule is published.