Organic Does Not Necessarily Mean GMO-Free

The sole purpose of this article is to make those of you who are not aware (like me), that organic food does not necessarily mean GMO-free food. I am still, and will continue to be, an outspoken advocate for organic food.

While this post is quite long, the vast majority of it are quotes from the USDA’s website.

I did a great deal of reading about what it means when food is labeled “organic”, and after careful consideration, research and discussion, I’ve come to realize some very disturbing things. It is my opinion that buying organic food from sources whose dedication to growing food free of GMOs and pesticides/fungicides/herbicides is questionable, is quite likely a waste of money and not as healthy as we may believe.

This is rumor control. Here are the facts.

The USDA is the governmental body that determines the definition of organic, and under  what circumstances the “USDA Certified Organic” label can be used. Here are my findings and, of course, my riveting commentary.

If you prefer the short version, here is it: Any food that bears the UDSA’s organic label can contain non-organic components, GMOs and potentially toxic chemicals.

If you want the long version, I highly recommend reading further.

Here is how the USDA defines “organic”:

“Organic is a labeling term for food or other agricultural products that have been produced according to the USDA organic regulations. These standards require the integration of cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. This means that organic operations must maintain or enhance soil and water quality while also conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

All organic crops and livestock must be raised in a production system that emphasizes protection of natural resources; plant and animal health; preventative management of pests, diseases, and predators; and compliant use of allowed materials. All organic products must be protected from prohibited substances and methods from the field to the point of final sale…”

This sounds very reasonable and implies taking care of the environment and soil, managing water resources and waste materials, and healthy food and living conditions for farm animals. Being mildly impressed, I read on:

“What types of products are eligible for organic certification?  USDA standards recognize four categories of organic production:

  • Crops. Plants that are grown to be harvested as food, livestock feed, or fiber used to add nutrients to the field.
  • Livestock. Animals that can be used for food or in the production of food, fiber, or feed.
  • Processed/multi-ingredient products. Items that have been handled and package (e.g., chopped carrots) or combined, processed, and packaged (e.g., bread or soup)
  • Wild crops. Plants from a growing site that is not cultivated.”

The USDA considers “chopped carrots” processed? I found this odd since prior to reading this, to me “processed” implies something being cooked, cured, fermented, or mingled with other products and then packaged. How could anyone consider chopping a vegetable “processed”? I guess that makes me a food processor – LOL. Perplexed, I continued reading:

“Can I use the USDA organic seal?  The following products may be labeled with the USDA organic seal:

  • Raw agricultural commodities that have been certified organic.
  • Processed or multi-ingredient products that have been certified organic and contain 95 to 100 percent organic content.
  • The following products may not be labeled with the USDA organic seal:

Any product that has not been certified organic by an accredited certifying agent.  This includes exempt operations, described in “Who needs to be certified?” above.

  • Processed or multi-ingredient products that contain less than 95 percent organic content.”

Here’s where my B-9, Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot senses started screaming: Danger Will Robinson, Danger! How can something be called organic if part of it is not organic?

Did the USDA flunk math? Labeling something organic which is not entirely organic is like being a little pregnant – there is no such thing; you either are or you’re not. So if 5% of a product does not have to be organic, then what could this 5% be? Could it be a GMO? A synthetic substance? A toxic substance?

The answer to these three questions, unfortunately, is yes.

So my friends, unless we grow our own food or buy our food from a very reputable source, we’re likely being gouged by, and lining the pockets of, the very companies and products we are trying desperately to avoid. Additionally, we’re not getting the health benefits we expect or are paying for.

Allow me to elaborate.

The USDA’s National Organic Program page reads,

“Organic

Raw or processed agricultural products in the “organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All agricultural ingredients must be certified organic, except where specified on National List.
  • Non-organic ingredients allowed per National List may be used, up to a combined total of five percent of non-organic content (excluding salt and water).
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.”

Pay attention to the second bullet point. Up to 5% of non-organic content can be used in products labeled organic. But wait!  You may counter and say, “But what about the ‘100 percent organic’ portion of this page?”:

100 Percent Organic
Raw or processed agricultural products in the “100 percent certified organic” category must meet these criteria:

  • All ingredients must be certified organic.
  • Any processing aids must be organic.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.”

One might suppose that something labeled 100% organic may actually be 100% organic.

To verify this supposition I spent the better part of an entire day reading the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7: Agriculture, PART 205—NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM portion of our great republic’s website, and learned that according to our leaders, almost anything can be called organic.

The “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.204   Seeds and planting stock practice standard” section states:

“(a) The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: Except, That,

(1) Nonorganically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced variety is not commercially available: Except, That, organically produced seed must be used for the production of edible sprouts;

(2) Nonorganically produced seeds and planting stock that have been treated with a substance included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced or untreated variety is not commercially available;

(3) Nonorganically produced annual seedlings may be used to produce an organic crop when a temporary variance has been granted in accordance with §205.290(a)(2);

(4) Nonorganically produced planting stock to be used to produce a perennial crop may be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced only after the planting stock has been maintained under a system of organic management for a period of no less than 1 year; and

(5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock treated with prohibited substances may be used to produce an organic crop when the application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations.”

Non-organic seeds and plants can be sold as organic and can be treated with prohibited substances. By this reasoning, non-organic = organic. Apparently, not only did the USDA flunk remedial math but it never took a logic class either.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.206   Origin of Livestock” section states:

“(a) Livestock products that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic must be from livestock under continuous organic management from the last third of gestation or hatchingExcept, That:

(1) Poultry. Poultry or edible poultry products must be from poultry that has been under continuous organic management beginning no later than the second day of life;

(2) Dairy animals. Milk or milk products must be from animals that have been under continuous organic management beginning no later than 1 year prior to the production of the milk or milk products that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic, Except,

(i) That, crops and forage from land, included in the organic system plan of a dairy farm, that is in the third year of organic management may be consumed by the dairy animals of the farm during the 12-month period immediately prior to the sale of organic milk and milk products; and

(ii) That, when an entire, distinct herd is converted to organic production, the producer may, provided no milk produced under this subparagraph enters the stream of commerce labeled as organic after June 9, 2007: (a) For the first 9 months of the year, provide a minimum of 80-percent feed that is either organic or raised from land included in the organic system plan and managed in compliance with organic crop requirements; and (b) Provide feed in compliance with §205.237 for the final 3 months.

(3) Breeder stock. Livestock used as breeder stock may be brought from a nonorganic operation onto an organic operation at any timeProvided, That, if such livestock are gestating and the offspring are to be raised as organic livestock, the breeder stock must be brought onto the facility no later than the last third of gestation.

(2) Breeder or dairy stock that has not been under continuous organic management since the last third of gestation may not be sold, labeled, or represented as organic slaughter stock.”

If I’m reading this correctly, genetically altered livestock fed GMO feed could be brought to an organic farm, and after a period of time be considered organic? Really? Put away the laptop, turn off your cell phone, log out of Facebook and leave your cubicle, USDA people.  Stupidity isn’t a good look for anyone.

A portion of the Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.206    Livestock Feed“ section states:

“(a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must provide livestock with a total feed ration composed of agricultural products, including pasture and forage, that are organically produced and handled by operations certified to the NOP, except as provided in §205.236(a)(2)(i), except, that, synthetic substances allowed under §205.603 and nonsynthetic substances not prohibited under §205.604 may be used as feed additives and feed supplements, Provided, That, all agricultural ingredients included in the ingredients list, for such additives and supplements, shall have been produced and handled organically.”

That sounds all fine and well, except some of the things listed in §205.603 include asprin, Oxytocin, stuff that kills parasites, and a whole lot of chemicals that can only be administered by a veterinarian. If only Walter White were available for an interview, then we’d know what that extensive list of chemicals really is and what effects these may have on humans and animals.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.237   Livestock feed” section states:

“(a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must provide livestock with a total feed ration composed of agricultural products, including pasture and forage, that are organically produced and handled by operations certified to the NOP, except as provided in §205.236(a)(2)(i), except, that, synthetic substances allowed under §205.603 and nonsynthetic substances not prohibited under §205.604 may be used as feed additives and feed supplements, Provided, That, all agricultural ingredients included in the ingredients list, for such additives and supplements, shall have been produced and handled organically.

(b) The producer of an organic operation must not:

(3) Feed plastic pellets for roughage;

(4) Feed formulas containing urea or manure;

(5) Feed mammalian or poultry slaughter by-products to mammals or poultry”

Yes, you read that right. The USDA actually has to put in writing that it’s NOT OK to feed plastic to livestock.

Are you people high?!

How could anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex think it’s ok to feed plastic to animals? And how bad and widespread is this practice such that you actually have written instructions not to do it! It makes me wonder if the person who included that statement in this document ate a few too many burgers whose meat came from cows that snacked on those yummy, hard to resist, you can’t eat just one, plastic pellets.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.238 – Livestock health care practice standard” section states:

“(a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including:

(6) Administration of vaccines and other veterinary biologics.

(b) When preventive practices and veterinary biologics are inadequate to prevent sickness, a producer may administer synthetic medicationsProvided, That, such medications are allowed under §205.603. Parasiticides allowed under §205.603 may be used on:

(1) Breeder stock, when used prior to the last third of gestation but not during lactation for progeny that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced; and

(2) Dairy stock, when used a minimum of 90 days prior to the production of milk or milk products that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic.”

Highly regulated drugs and synthetic medications are allowed to keep livestock healthy. Riiiiight.

You know what else works really well? Letting animals graze in their natural habitat, eating the foods they would normally and naturally eat, on their own, in a non-caged environment, without human intervention. Wait – what’s that called? Don’t tell me – it’ll come to me…

Nature.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements,  §205.239   Livestock living conditions” section states:

“(1) Year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment: Except, that, animals may be temporarily denied access to the outdoors in accordance with §§205.239(b) and (c).

(b) The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement or shelter for an animal because of:

(1) Inclement weather;

(3) Conditions under which the health, safety, or well-being of the animal could be jeopardized;

(4) Risk to soil or water quality;

(5) Preventive healthcare procedures or for the treatment of illness or injury (neither the various life stages nor lactation is an illness or injury);

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation may, in addition to the times permitted under §205.239(b), temporarily deny a ruminant animal pasture or outdoor access under the following conditions:

(2) In the case of newborn dairy cattle for up to six months, after which they must be on pasture during the grazing season and may no longer be individually housed: Provided, That, an animal shall not be confined or tethered in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, and moving about freely;

(d) Ruminant slaughter stock, typically grain finished, shall be maintained on pasture for each day that the finishing period corresponds with the grazing season for the geographical location: Except, that, yards, feeding pads, or feedlots may be used to provide finish feeding rations. During the finishing period, ruminant slaughter stock shall be exempt from the minimum 30 percent DMI requirement from grazing. Yards, feeding pads, or feedlots used to provide finish feeding rations shall be large enough to allow all ruminant slaughter stock occupying the yard, feeding pad, or feed lot to feed simultaneously without crowding and without competition for food. The finishing period shall not exceed one-fifth (15 ) of the animal’s total life or 120 days, whichever is shorter.”

Risk to water or soil quality? Are you kidding me? Isn’t that exactly what a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) does, is risk water and soil quality? For those of you who never had to drive through Kettleman City’s (or other unnaturally large) dairy farms, for miles and miles, not even with rolled up windows and industrial strength air freshener can the smell of the countless cows forced to live in their own muck be masked.  It’s disgusting.

Tell me, how can such an un-natural concentration of cow poop and urine not harm the water and soil quality over time? This seems to me like a great excuse to throw out all common sense and animal welfare efforts out the window.

  • Humans create an unnatural and unsanitary way to manage dairy farm animals.
  • In so doing, said humans taint the soil, water and air because of bad practices.
  • Said humans can then ignore organic standards because intentional mis-management threatens water, soil and air.

Shame on us.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.270   Organic handling requirements” section states:

“(a) Mechanical or biological methods, including but not limited to cooking, baking, curing, heating, drying, mixing, grinding, churning, separating, distilling, extracting, slaughtering, cutting, fermenting, eviscerating, preserving, dehydrating, freezing, chilling, or otherwise manufacturing, and the packaging, canning, jarring, or otherwise enclosing food in a container may be used to process an organically produced agricultural product for the purpose of retarding spoilage or otherwise preparing the agricultural product for market.

(b) Nonagricultural substances allowed under §205.605 and nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed under §205.606 may be used:

(1) In or on a processed agricultural product intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “organic,” pursuant to §205.301(b), if not commercially available in organic form.

(2) In or on a processed agricultural product intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” pursuant to §205.301(c).

(c) The handler of an organic handling operation must not use in or on agricultural products intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” or in or on any ingredients labeled as organic:

(1) Practices prohibited under paragraphs (e) and (f) of §205.105.

(2) A volatile synthetic solvent or other synthetic processing aid not allowed under §205.605: Except,That, nonorganic ingredients in products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” are not subject to this requirement.”

Section §205.605 gives a spectacularly long list of chemicals that makes the periodic table look like a caption.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.271   Facility pest management practice standard” section states:

“(c) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not effective to prevent or control pests, a nonsynthetic or synthetic substance consistent with the National List may be applied.

(d) If the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section are not effective to prevent or control facility pests, a synthetic substance not on the National List may be appliedProvided, That, the handler and certifying agent agree on the substance, method of application, and measures to be taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.

(f) Notwithstanding the practices provided for in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section, a handler may otherwise use substances to prevent or control pests as required by Federal, State, or local laws and regulations: Provided, That, measures are taken to prevent contact of the organically produced products or ingredients with the substance used.”

In other words, if organic methods don’t work then by all means use conventional methods. Let’s lace the soil, the animals, the air, the water, and by extension people, with more chemicals than Donal Trump has pennies.

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.272   Commingling and contact with prohibited substance prevention practice standard” section states:

“(a) The handler of an organic handling operation must implement measures necessary to prevent the commingling of organic and nonorganic products and protect organic products from contact with prohibited substances.

(b) The following are prohibited for use in the handling of any organically produced agricultural product or ingredient labeled in accordance with subpart D of this part:

(1) Packaging materials, and storage containers, or bins that contain a synthetic fungicide, preservative, or fumigant;

(2) The use or reuse of any bag or container that has been in contact with any substance in such a manner as to compromise the organic integrity of any organically produced product or ingredient placed in those containers, unless such reusable bag or container has been thoroughly cleaned and poses no risk of contact of the organically produced product or ingredient with the substance used.”

What are the chances that reusable containers are properly cleaned before re-use for organic food?

A portion of the “Subpart C—Organic Production and Handling Requirements, §205.290   Temporary variances” section states:

“(a) Temporary variances from the requirements in §§205.203 through 205.207, 205.236 through 205.240 and 205.270 through 205.272 may be established by the Administrator for the following reasons:

(1) Natural disasters declared by the Secretary;

(2) Damage caused by drought, wind, flood, excessive moisture, hail, tornado, earthquake, fire, or other business interruption; and

(3) Practices used for the purpose of conducting research or trials of techniques, varieties, or ingredients used in organic production or handling.

(b) A State organic program’s governing State official or certifying agent may recommend in writing to the Administrator that a temporary variance from a standard set forth in subpart C of this part for organic production or handling operations be established: Provided, That, such variance is based on one or more of the reasons listed in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) The Administrator will provide written notification to certifying agents upon establishment of a temporary variance applicable to the certifying agent’s certified production or handling operations and specify the period of time it shall remain in effect, subject to extension as the Administrator deems necessary.

(d) A certifying agent, upon notification from the Administrator of the establishment of a temporary variance, must notify each production or handling operation it certifies to which the temporary variance applies.”

Here we go again. Protocols for organics have been established but can be waived under countless circumstances. Is it Tuesday? Waive organic rules. Is the wind blowing from the North? Waive organic rules. Did the sun come up today? Is the Earth still spinning on its axis? Does water still flow downhill? Waive organic rules.

Yawn.

A portion of the “Subpart D—Labels, Labeling, and Market Information, §205.301   Product composition” section states:

“(a) Products sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic.” A raw or processed agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) 100 percent organically produced ingredients. If labeled as organically produced, such product must be labeled pursuant to §205.303.

(b) Products sold, labeled, or represented as “organic.” A raw or processed agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) not less than 95 percent organically produced raw or processed agricultural products. Any remaining product ingredients must be organically produced, unless not commercially available in organic form, or must be nonagricultural substances or nonorganically produced agricultural products produced consistent with the National List in subpart G of this part. If labeled as organically produced, such product must be labeled pursuant to §205.303.

(e) Livestock feed. (1) A raw or processed livestock feed product sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic” must contain (by weight or fluid volume, excluding water and salt) not less than 100 percent organically produced raw or processed agricultural product.

(f) All products labeled as “100 percent organic” or “organic” and all ingredients identified as “organic” in the ingredient statement of any product must not:

(1) Be produced using excluded methods, pursuant to §201.105(e) of this chapter;

(2) Be produced using sewage sludge, pursuant to §201.105(f) of this chapter;

(3) Be processed using ionizing radiation, pursuant to §201.105(g) of this chapter;

(4) Be processed using processing aids not approved on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances in subpart G of this part: Except, That, products labeled as “100 percent organic,” if processed, must be processed using organically produced processing aids;

(5) Contain sulfites, nitrates, or nitrites added during the production or handling process, Except, that, wine containing added sulfites may be labeled “made with organic grapes”;

(6) Be produced using nonorganic ingredients when organic ingredients are available; or

(7) Include organic and nonorganic forms of the same ingredient.”

The out for part (4) – “100 percent organic” is, that if one reviewed the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (immediately below) any number of exceptions can be used to skirt organic rules.

A portion of the “Subpart G—Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, §205.600   Evaluation criteria for allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients” section states:

The following criteria will be utilized in the evaluation of substances or ingredients for the organic production and handling sections of the National List:

(a) Synthetic and nonsynthetic substances considered for inclusion on or deletion from the National List of allowed and prohibited substances will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).

(b) In addition to the criteria set forth in the Act, any synthetic substance used as a processing aid or adjuvant will be evaluated against the following criteria:

(1) The substance cannot be produced from a natural source and there are no organic substitutes;

(2) The substance’s manufacture, use, and disposal do not have adverse effects on the environment and are done in a manner compatible with organic handling;

(3) The nutritional quality of the food is maintained when the substance is used, and the substance, itself, or its breakdown products do not have an adverse effect on human health as defined by applicable Federal regulations;

(4) The substance’s primary use is not as a preservative or to recreate or improve flavors, colors, textures,or nutritive value lost during processing, except where the replacement of nutrients is required by law;

(5) The substance is listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with FDA’s good manufacturing practices (GMP) and contains no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by FDA; and

(6) The substance is essential for the handling of organically produced agricultural products.

(c) Nonsynthetics used in organic processing will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).”

I think the folks at the USDA who have been purchased by chemical, weapons and pharmaceutical companies have done a few too many “synthetics” themselves, given how utterly flawed the above statements are.

1)  Why would you need anything synthetic in organic food?

2)  Regarding Section (b)(1), why do we need “the substance”? What isn’t produced from natural sources when one grows food (plant or animal) in a well balanced, diverse, thriving eco-system, without man-made chemicals? And if “the substance” isn’t produced from said eco-system, why would we need it in our food?

3)  Regarding Section (b)(2), how the heck would the USDA know if a manufactured substance has adverse effects on the environment? Since the EPA and the USDA (and likely a plethora of other departments or agencies of the US) are in collusion with Monsanto and other, similar bio-tech/weapons/pharmaceutical firms, there are no lengthy studies being conducted – intentionally, IMHO. You’re likely not going to find what you’re not looking for.

4)  Regarding section (b)(3), once again, I know of no long term studies to determine how a substance breaks down or the potential adverse effects a substance has on human health. But it is my opinion that, given the state of our physical and mental non-health, it’s pretty clear that the “substances” created by Monsanto (et al) which taint our food, water, and air, must play a critical role in the decline of human, plant and animal health and well being.

5)  Section (b)(4) and (b)(5) are…

You know, I’m getting really tired of pointing out the obvious. Anyone with an IQ equal to or greater than a russet potato doesn’t need me to point out the continued nonsense in these sections.

A portion of the “Subpart G—Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, §205.601   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production” section states:

“In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop productionProvided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems. (1) Alcohols, (i) Ethanol, (ii) Isopropanol, (2) Chlorine materials…, (i) Calcium hypochlorite, (ii) Chlorine dioxide, (iii) Sodium hypochlorite, (3) Copper sulfate…, (4) Hydrogen peroxide, (5) Ozone gas…, (6) Peracetic acid…, (7) Soap-based algicide/demossers…, 8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable, (1) Herbicides, soap-based…, (2) Mulches, (i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks, (ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)), (c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper…, (d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium…, (e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control), (1) Ammonium carbonate…, (2) Aqueous potassium silicate…, (3) Boric acid…, (4) Copper sulfate…, (5) Elemental sulfur, (6) Lime sulfur, (7) Oils, horticultural…, (8) Soaps, insecticidal, (9) Sticky traps/barriers, (10) Sucrose octanoate esters…, (f) As insect management. Pheromones, (g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3, (h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate, (i) As plant disease control, (1) Aqueous potassium silicate…, (2) Coppers, fixed…, (3) Copper sulfate, (4) Hydrated lime, (5) Hydrogen peroxide, (6) Lime sulfur, (7) Oils, horticultural, (8) Peracetic acid…, (9) Potassium bicarbonate, (10) Elemental sulfur, (11) Streptomycin, (12) Tetracycline, (j) As plant or soil amendments, (1) Aquatic plant extracts…, (2) Elemental sulfur, (3) Humic acids, (4) Lignin sulfonate…, (5) Magnesium sulfate…, (6) Micronutrients…, (i) Soluble boron products, (ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt, (7) Liquid fish products, (8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E., (9) Sulfurous acid…, (k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas, (l) As floating agents in postharvest handling. (1) Lignin sulfonate, (2) Sodium silicate…, (m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances., (1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern, (2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity…, (n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride…, (o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax…”

I’m not even sure where to begin. If one is a vegan, the fact that (7) Liquid fish products may be used in organic food production is very unsettling.

Next – and this is one of my favorites, is the, “Inerts of unknown toxicity”. Would someone please explain to me what the purpose of something with “unknown toxicity” has in the production of food?

And don’t you just love how the pharmaceuticals companies and their products – “(11) Streptomycin, (12) Tetracycline” manage to seep into every portion of our lives? The USDA is advocating the use of antibiotics throughout the entire food chain.

Here’s what I find most disturbing about this list. It’s notes like these that make me realize the people calling the shots at the USDA are completely and irrevocably insane:

“(3) Copper sulfate…is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period….”

“(6) Peracetic acid…as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label”

“(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label”

“(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.”

Remember, the above are on the allowed list. LOL. The prohibited list is immediately below.

A portion of the “Subpart G—Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, §205.602   Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production” section states:

“The following nonsynthetic substances may not be used in organic crop production:

(a) Ash from manure burning, (b) Arsenic, (c) Calcium chloride…, (d) Lead salts, (e) Potassium chloride…, (f) Sodium fluoaluminate (mined), (g) Sodium nitrate…, (h) Strychnine, (i) Tobacco dust (nicotine sulfate)”

Isn’t this backwards? The allowed list is miles long and the prohibited list is a single paragraph.

Just for a few more laughs, let’s look at the allowed synthetic substances list versus the prohibited synthetic substances list.

A portion of the “Subpart G—Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, §205.603   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production” section states:

“In accordance with restrictions specified in this section the following synthetic substances may be used in organic livestock production:

(a) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable, (1) Alcohols, (i) Ethanol-disinfectant and sanitizer…, (ii) Isopropanol-disinfectant only, (2) Aspirin…, (3) Atropine…, (4) Biologics—Vaccines, (5) Butorphanol…, (6) Chlorhexidine…, (7) Chlorine materials…, (i) Calcium hypochlorite, (ii) Chlorine dioxide, (iii) Sodium hypochlorite, (8) Electrolytes—without antibiotics, (9) Flunixin…, (10) Furosemide…, (11) Glucose, (12) Glycerine…, (13) Hydrogen peroxide, (14) Iodine, (15) Magnesium hydroxide…, (16) Magnesium sulfate, (17) Oxytocin…, (18) Parasiticides…, (i) Fenbendazole…, (ii) Ivermectin…, (iii) Moxidectin…, (19) Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid…, (20) Phosphoric acid…, (21) Poloxalene…, (22) Tolazoline…, (23) Xylazine .., (1) Copper sulfate, (2) Formic acid…, (3) Iodine, (4) Lidocaine…, (5) Lime…, (6) Mineral oil…, (7) Procaine…, (8) Sucrose octanoate esters…, (1) DL-Methionine, DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog, and DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog calcium…, (3) Vitamins…, 1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.”

A portion of the “Subpart G—Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, §205.604   Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic livestock production” section states:

“The following nonsynthetic substances may not be used in organic livestock production:

(a) Strychnine.”

The USDA isn’t allowing strychnine for use in organic livestock production. Oh, good. I’m so relieved! That’s been keeping me up at night for a long while now.

This just proves that, if you trust entities who have sold their souls for money, power or prestige, you will suffer in every possible aspect of your life IF you don’t take responsibility for your own health and growing or raising your own food.

I’m done reiterating portions of the “Subpart G” because I think everyone gets the picture.

There you have it. I personally feel that we’d get more for our tax dollars if we used it to play a game of dice with Big Jo-D behind the 7-11 on Blanding Blvd, than give it to the USDA to ensure the health and safety of the nation’s food supply. At least Big Jo-D is somewhat reputable as a fairly honest business man.

But the USDA is not all bad. It’s is doing a stellar job at protecting the vast majority of people who don’t actually eat.

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2 Responses to Organic Does Not Necessarily Mean GMO-Free

  1. Conventional food is more like 100% NOT ORGANIC, so I’d like to make that clear first. I’ve often pointed out that Organic is a bare minimum standard and by no means the best. If we all ate organic food, there’s be a lot less disease in our people.

    So, this is a very accurate account of what’s going on in the organic standard. Let’s not forget, however, that the organic standard is a VERY low amount of toxins and there’s a good chance that it’s higher in nutrients (due to the fertilization practices that are adhered to).

    Having more nutrition allows your body to clear out toxins. This is essential. Just so you know. There isn’t enough organic food in our world to feed us all!

  2. Jonathan Byron says:

    A central claim (the one used in the title of this post) is factually incorrect.

    >> ” So if 5% of a product does not have to be organic, then what could this 5% be? Could it be a GMO? … yes. ”

    No, it could not … please re-read the regulations. You quoted them above: “Raw or processed agricultural products in the “organic” category must meet these criteria: All agricultural ingredients must be certified organic, except where specified on National List.” And if you follow that through, the national list specifically prohibits GMOs in §205.2 and other places, where it defines them as not compatible with organic production.

    So what is that 5%? There are foods like honey and mushrooms that do not have an organic standard – these can be added, at up to 5%. There are compounds like ascorbic acid (ie, Vitamin C) which do not come as organic, but which can be useful in preventing spoilage. If you pickle is going to ship many miles and sit on a shelf for months after harvest time, then a bit of Calcium Chloride (a natural mineral, but not available organic) might be used to keep it crisp.

    I agree with you that certified organic is not necessarily a perfect standard, but there are real differences between organic and conventional, and I believe these are important differences. You might want to read up on the history of the organic movement – it ain’t perfect, but it has been moving the ball in the right direction for many decades. And more research is needed before making such sweeping statements – there are plenty of other things in the article that I would describe as wrong, misleading or irrelevant.

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