“Dark Forces” Are Coming for Your Organic Food – TOM PHILPOTT FEB. 9, 2017 1:30 PM


So says the former Obama USDA appointee who helped create national organic standards.

The Freedom Caucus is a rowdy band of GOP US House members most famous for triggering government shutdownspushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, anddriving former GOP Speaker John Boehner from his post on the theory he wasn’t conservative enough. And now they’re coming for your certified-organic food.

Back in December, the Freedom Caucus released a “recommended list of regulations to remove.”  Among its 228 targets—ranging from eliminating energy efficiency standards for washing machines to kiboshing rules on private drones—the group named the National Organic Program.

Merrigan warned that “forces of darkness” are “coming together and saying, ‘Let’s sharpen our knives on organic.'”

Operated by the US Department of Agriculture, the NOP was established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to set uniform national standards for foods and agricultural products labeled “USDA Organic,” replacing the patchwork of state-level standards that had held sway for decades previously. The NOP ensures that food labeled organic really is raised without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers—it also oversees USDA-accredited organic certifying agents and takes “appropriate enforcement actions if there are violations of the organic standards,” according tothe USDA.

As of 2015, annual organic food sales stood at $39.7 million, representing nearly 5 percent of total food sales. And sales for organics are growing at an 11 percent annual clip—nearly four times the rate of overall US food sales.

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