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Testimony of Eden Foods President Michael Potter before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
22 May 2012
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.
I am Michael Potter Chairman and President of Eden Foods In the organic food industry for 43 years. We are not an OTA member.
I must object to the Green Washing for more, easy and cheap to produce, quasi organic food.
Should organic food be better for large corporations, or Better for the People?
Self proclaimed organic leaders (self proclaimed to those in Washington) long ago abandon quality for quantity. Quantity in cash flows, profits, and Overall - Quantity in and of Numbers. They have adopted the Wall Street ethos that bigger is better, and so have completely abandon the Organic Truth that Small is Beautiful.
Organic food is supposed to be an alternative to industrialized food. It is supposed to be the antithesis of commercial food. Yet, how can it be an alternative to junk food when it is being measured for success with the same yardstick used for and by Wall Street rascals?
The NOSB was designed to be a Gatekeeper in order to preserve organic authenticity. To do this they must employ the "Precautionary Principal" Always being certain that what they do is appropriate for organic food.
There is a huge need for something (the NOSB) to control the Inputs into organic food. This is needed to offset the efforts of those simply wanting to make as much money as possible doing it the easiest and cheapest way.
A Character of Organic Agriculture is that it must encourage as much life in soil as possible. Anything that diminishes or limits vitality of soil life ought to be avoided. Anything that stresses or destroys soil life - must not be used in organic agriculture.
USDA organic food has a reputation as needing only comply with a paperwork scheme, a scheme that invites and encourages fraud. It is urgently important something develop to offset this, and the Role of the NOSB ought to be that offset. Chemical manufactures can lay hundreds of pounds of documents before us claiming their additives safe and suitable for organic food. Who can counter such a presentation? An individual, a small company, objective academia? Is it the people's job to prove them wrong when they have simply stated they are right, or should the burden of proof lie upon the seller of the additives? - Until the Due Diligence of the Precautionary Principal is entirely met.
Definition of Organic Food ought to be similar to that of organic Agriculture - that is anything that causes physiological stress in a healthy person eating it should not be added. And the handling and processing of organic food should be done to protect and enhance vital forces inherent in it.
Food is Life Force and growing it, handling it, and processing it needs to be looked at in its entirety, not in the myriad of small pieces. First, principals must be set for organic food and Then the smaller details looked after accordingly. Looking after small details without overriding principals is a recipe for disaster, a disaster where organic food no long holds credibility with the public.
At Eden Foods we hear of trade associations' grandiose numbers touting tens of billions of dollars of organic food being sold. This is usually met at Eden with sarcastic comments about organic junk food. Organic food that by no means ought to be called or sold as organic food.
Thank you for my three minutes.