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Dear President Obama and Secretary Vilsack,
The Organic label is more than just a label to many Americans. It is a way for those wanting to avoid pesticides, synthetics and GMOs in their food to do so by eating organic. Therefore, it is important that the integrity of organic standards be maintained and protected.
I am deeply concerned by the changes that are taking place within the National Organic Program by diminshing the independence of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) from the USDA. The USDA must continue to recognize the importance of the NOSB and allow them to do their jobs as guaranteed by the Organic Food Production Act.
Additionally, the changes that are proposed to the process for exempting otherwise prohibited substances (such as synthetics) to the organic program threaten to harm the trust in and integrity of the National Organic Program.
The rule enacted in 2005 determined that ingredient exceptions were made for a five-year period, in order to allow time for the development of natural and organic alternatives. These exceptions were required by law to "sunset", unless retained by a two-thirds majority vote of the NOSB, allowing for public input and review.
The new proposal permitting exceptions to remain on the list unless voted by two-thirds to be removed is a deviation from the original intent of the law and must be rejected.
If these changes to the Organic standards are allowed to stand, trust in the Organic Program will be at risk.
Thank you for your consideration,