Cornucopia's audit request cites a number of enforcement violations including: allowing soil-less hydroponic/container growing, which substitutes liquid fertilizers for careful stewardship of soil; allowing documented cases of "willful" violations on factory dairies confining livestock instead of grazing; and allowing as many as 200,000 "organic" chickens to be kept in single buildings without outdoor access.
"When the organic farming movement was commercialized, in earnest, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, stakeholders petitioned to Congress for strict regulations to maintain high integrity in organic agriculture," said Kevin Engelbert, an organic dairy farmer from Nichols, New York. "The exponential increase in 'organic' milk coming from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the desert west, many allegedly cheating, continues to push down pricing and jeopardize the livelihoods of hard-working farm families across the country."
Cornucopia's audit request to the Office of the Inspector General also asked them to look into financial mismanagement, conflicts of interest, and illegal withholding of public documents by the National Organic Program.
In addition to their letter to the Inspector General, Cornucopia has sent a request to the two primary authors of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, asking the legislators to consider holding oversight hearings in the new Congress.
READ THE FULL RELEASE
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: The full press release includes quotes from former National Organic Standards Board members, details regarding complaints on organic factory farming, and an explanation of the National Organic Program's financial mismanagement and conflicts-of-interest. Mark Kastel is available for interviews.
Mark Kastel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 608-625-2000
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SOURCE The Cornucopia Institute