Don't Mess with Our "Organic" Label

Anytime the Bushites issue a new set of administrative guidelines, while telling We the People to pay no mind to their actions because they're merely "clarifying" existing regulations -- grab your BS detector.

That's what consumers, farmers, environmentalists, and others did when Bush's agriculture department suddenly issued four new guidelines on what can and cannot be labeled as organic. Not to worry, said a USDA spokeswoman: "They are just clarifications... They just explain what's enforceable." BS! All four are slick stinkers that pollute the very meaning of "organic."

The supposedly innocuous "clarifications" -- which were pushed by agribusiness corporations that fund Bush's political campaign -- would allow pesticides, animal drugs, sex hormones, antibiotics, and toxic fishmeal to be used to produce crops, meat, milk, and other foods we buy that are labeled organic.

In other words, the Bushites' would turn the organic label into a legalized fraud. To add to the deception, the ag department tried to sneak these agribusiness changes into law without allowing any public comment, as required by law.

I don't know whom they thought they were fooling, but it damned sure wasn't the People. Thousands of phone calls, emails, faxes, and petitions poured into USDA -- so many calls, for example, that besieged ag officials called the Organic Consumers Association and begged it to tell its supporters to stop calling! Also, small organic businesses and the Organic Trade Association prepared a lawsuit against this antidemocratic power play.

It took less than a month for the Bushites to cry uncle. Forced to the wall by the public outrage, Bush's ag secretary has abruptly rescinded all four clarifications, and for the moment, the integrity of our organic label has been preserved.

But keep your BS detectors at the ready, for this agriculture department won't stop trying to sneak ever-slicker and stinkier agribusiness schemes past us.

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