Wednesday, August 02, 2006

USDA Considers Expanding List of Allowable Substances in Organic Meat

Whenever possible Karyn and I chose organic food products over non-organic. I realize most of these food products are developed by large industrial organic entities in non-sustainable ways. While there may not be a significant increase the nutritious values of these products, I still believe there is a value in the decreased chemicals both on me as an individual and the environment. We also try to take that one step further by purchasing local organic and non-organic products that are produced by smaller farms, as I truly believe that they are healthier for me and teh environment. We purchase some of our meat from a company called Daily Blessings. They alerted me to the changes proposed below.

I was upset a few years ago when the federal government relaxed the organic standards to enable more large producers to market under teh "organic" label. It would appear that they are up to it again. I will be writing my letter, I encourage you to do the same.

USDA Considers Expanding List of Allowable Substances in Organic Meat
Increased demand and limited supply of organic beef has led many to consider alternatives that would lead to increased production. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is considering expanding the list of allowable substances that can be used in treating livestock, while still remaining eligible for organic certification.
The substances being debated include:

  • Atropine, a belladonna-derived antidote for poisoning after organophosphate pesticide exposure

  • Bismuth subsalicyate, an anti-diarrheal drug also used by humans.

  • Butorphanol, a short-acting painkiller often used before surgery.

  • Flunixin, a non-steroidal, non-narcotic treatment for inflammation or pyrexia.

  • Furosemide, a diuretic used to treat pulmonary and udder edema.

  • Magnesium hydroxide, a naturally-occurring mineral used as a laxative and antacid.

  • Peroxyacetic/paracetic acid, used to sanitize facility and processing equipment and as a topical disinfectant on animals and meat and dairy products.

  • Poloxalene, a synthetic substance used to prevent or treat bloating in cattle and as a stool softener.
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA disagreed about the appropriate circumstances under which some of these substances should be used, and for how long. The NOSB recommended a withdrawal period twice as long as the FDA guidelines for butophanol and flunixin, and asked for an extended withdrawal period on furosemide as well. In addition, the NOSB recommended that poloxalene should only be used in emergency circumstances, while the USDA wanted it to be available as a preventative treatment.

Comments must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2006. They may be mailed to:
Arthur Neal, Director of Program Administration
National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Room4008-So., Ag Stop 0268
Washington, DC 20250
Fax: 202-205-7808

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