The National Organic Standards Board, which exists to make sure that substances that can potentially harm humans or the environment will not be allowed in organic foods, has recently approved synthetic ingredients for use in organics.
The NOSB has also approved the use of carrageenan despite studies that determined it is not good for humans.
Farmers and public interest groups are unhappy about the decision, and they are urging the public to be aware of the situation.
This article, written by The Cornucopia Institute and released via WebWire, highlights the results of the recent semiannual meeting of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board in Albuquerque, NM.
National Organic Standards Board: Watching What We Eat?
Carrageenan has been shown to trigger gastrointestinal inflammation, which is known to cause serious intestinal disease, including cancer. “Degraded carrageenan” which is present in all food-grade carrageenan, is classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Academy of Science in United States.
“The beauty of the law that was passed by Congress, the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), was that the majority of 15 NOSB seats were reserved for farmers, consumer advocates, environmentalists and others public interest representatives as a balance to corporate power” said Mark Kastel, The Cornucopia Institute’s Codirector. “The law has been ignored and the organic chickens are now coming home to roost—undermining the integrity of the organic label.”
Ms. Wendy Fulwider, a full-time employee at the CROPP Cooperative (Organic Valley) and a NOSB member, appropriately disclosed a conflict of interest. Organic Valley had sent a representative to publicly lobby the board to approve carrageenan, citing Organic Valley’s use of the material in soymilk, whipping cream and chocolate milk.
The NOSB also approved nutraceuticals for use in all infant formula. Nutraceuticals are food products that are supposed to provide health and medical benefits.
In addition to carrageenan, the board approved synthetic inositol and choline, two nutraceuticals, for use in all infant formula. This was a controversial decision as well, since the FDA only requires that these synthetic nutrients be added to soy-based infant formula.
The Cornucopia Institute has taken the official position that the NOSB, which is not a scientific panel, should leave decisions about required food fortification with synthetic nutrients to the FDA.
“The decision to relist carrageenan, and to allow the synthetic nutrients choline and inositol for infant formula, prevailed by one vote” Kastel observed.
The Cornucopia Institute has prepared a guide to help consumers avoid foods with carrageenan. Original story here.
This piece of news should tell you to be mindful of what you eat and read labels when you buy “organic” products in the market.
To know more about the implications of the decision made by the National Organic Standards Board, check out our article on organic food additives.
National Organic Standards Board – Currently the members serving on the National Organic Standards Board represent a broad spectrum of sectors involved with the regulation.…
Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 - authorizes a National Organic Program NOP to be administered by USDA’s of a 15-member National Organic Standards Board NOSB to.…