Here is a statement issued by Seeds of Change:
Thank you for your contact and for the opportunity to comment on HR 875 and S 425. We do not believe these bills will outlaw organic farming or backyard gardening.
These are food safety bills, which is a political necessity now. The bills do not make statements about chemical inputs, organics, seed supplies or gardening, it calls for min standards for production, processing (slaughtering etc), distribution and preparation of food. These standards do NOT call for the use of chemicals, but do call for standards in terms of soil fertility (does not say to use fertilizers….), hygiene, processing, packaging, storage etc. The rule also calls for traceability, already a big part of organics and one of our inherent advantages in our process based system. The rule calls for foreign food production to meet the same standards, and be subject to US accredited certification. This is the exact same system as we use in organics already, and frankly, if offshore food production needs to meet more strict quality standards, this in theory will increase US food production, which has been on the decline for many years. Reversing this trend and maintaining high food quality standards (based on processes, not only testing) is a good thing, and we are already doing that in organics.
Obviously, one area of potential concern could be if the standard includes for instance mandatory irradiation of food (banned under the organic law). Another area of concern could be combination production practices of animals and plants. Historically common, scientifically useful, but when the numbers get excessive, a problem. The problem is the numbers, not the practice perse. Raw milk, free range eggs etc, could all also be subject to new and more stringent food safety and ‘treatment’ regs. However, none of this is stated and would be subject to review A solution to the above would be in the clause allowing for variances, which these folks would have to apply for.
We feel these bills use common sense and need (we must look at food safety, which should be the concerns in organics as well…some of the recent peanuts were organic) and are an opportunity for organics as a process based, traceable and scientific system, to be proactive and to grow the use of sustainable, organic crop/food production.
The Folks at Seeds of Change
The following website gives an overview also of the food safety issues;