National Organic Standards, repeal of Section 771

PCC's letter to USDA supporting repeal of Section 771

PCC sent the letter below in support of maintaining the integrity of the National Organic Standards to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who played a key role in drafting the original National Organic Standards, and other Congressional members representing Washington districts.

February 25, 2003

The Honorable Ann Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
14th and Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Secretary Veneman,

As the largest consumer-owned cooperative retailer of natural foods in the United States, PCC Natural Markets is very concerned about the impact of Section 771 of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. On behalf of our 40,000 members, we are writing to urge you to support a repeal of language in Section 771 that threatens the integrity of the organic label for meat, poultry, and dairy.

If allowed to stand, Section 771 would undermine National Organic Standards and cause a loss of trust and confidence in the USDA organic seal. The clause would let ranchers use the USDA organic label on meat from animals that eat any mix of non-organic and organic feed, contrary to the national standards demanded by more than a decade of public comment and feedback.

We urge you to co-sponsor legislation from Senator Patrick Leahy that will reverse the language of Section 771. Repealing Section 771 will encourage continued growth of organic farming, one of the only bright spots in U.S. agriculture overall and one that produces $200 million worth of goods in Washington state alone.

The National Standards gave the $11 billion organic industry and consumers the most clarity and consistency ever. Repealing Section 771 is smart for business and for consumers’ trust in USDA standards.

Yours truly,

Tracy Wolpert, CEO
Randy Lee, CFO

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