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Appropriations Bill Rider Threatens Organic Label

Thanks to all of those who have already acted but more help is still needed!

ACTION NEEDED TODAY to Stop the Weakening of Organic Food Production Law. Three quick phone calls.

(February 28, 2003) It is time to make your voice heard to protect the organic law! Join consumers, organic companies, and trade groups from across the county to stop Congress from weakening the standards for organically labeled food.

CALL your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative NOW to either thank them for joining this effort or urging them to co-sponsor this bill. Introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), the bill, S.457 "Organic Restoration Act" A bill to remove the limitation on the use of funds to require a farm to feed livestock with organically produced feed to be certified as an organic farm will repeal a provision in appropriations legislation passed by Congress on February 13, 2003.

In its $397 billion Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Congress attached a last-minute rider allowing an exemption to the requirement that organic livestock be fed 100% organic feed. The language allows farmers to feed livestock conventional feed if organic feed is more than twice as expensive and still label the meat as organic.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the original co-sponsor of the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act, announced at the time that he would launch an effort to repeal the rider and restore the intent of the law. A repeal bill will be introduced today by Senator Leahy and Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), who are seeking co-sponsors in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill will stop the weakening of the organic label by repealing Section 771 of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Consumers and supporters of organic food are a powerful force behind a $10 billion organic industry. They showed their influence in Washington, DC, when in 2000 a record number of people stopped a U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to allow in organic production genetically engineered organisms, sewage sludge, and irradiation.

Two websites provide additional information that can assist you further with this effort, http://www.ota.com/SUAaction.htm and http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/issues/org_feed02-03.html.

Also see an article in The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/27/politics/27FOOD.html

To read the exact language of the rider, see http://www.ota.com/FeedLanguage.htm.

The bill, introduced February 26, 2003 has 41 cosponsors including:

Senators:

Arizona: John McCain (R)
Arkansas: Mark Pryor (D)
California: Barbara Boxer (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D)
Colorado: Wayne Allard (R) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R)
Connecticut: Christopher Dodd (D) and Joseph Lieberman (D)
Deleware: Thomas Carper (D)
Florida: Bill Nelson (D)
Idaho: Larry Craig (R) and Michael Crapo (R)
Iowa: Charles Grassley (R) and Tom Harkin (D)
Illinois: Peter Fitzgerald (R) and Dick Durbin (D)
Indiana: Richard Lugar (R) and Evan Bayh (D)
Kansas: Pat Roberts (R)
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu (D)
Maine: Susan Collins (R) and Olympia Snowe (R)
Maryland: Barbara Mikulski (D) and Paul Sarbanes (D)
Massachusetts: Edward Kennedy (D) and John Kerry (D)
Michigan: Debbie Stabenow (D) and Carl Levin (D)
Minnesota: Norm Coleman (R) and Mark Dayton (D)
Montana: Max Baucus (D) and Conrad Burns (R)
Nevada: Harry Reid (D)
New Hampshire: Judd Gregg (R) and John Sununu (D)
New Mexico: Jeff Bingaman (D) and Pete Domenici (R)
New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg (D) and Jon Corzine (D)
New York: Hilary Clinton (D) and Charles Schumer (D)
North Carolina: John Edwards (D)
North Dakota: Byron Dorgan (D) and Kent Conrad (D)
Oregon: Gordon Smith (R) and Ron Wyden (D)
Rohde Island: Jack Reed (D)
South Dakota: Tom Daschle (D) and Tim Johnson (D)
Vermont: Patrick Leahy (D) and Jim Jeffords (I)
Virginia: George Allen (R) and John Warner (R)
Washington: Maria Cantwell (D) and Patty Murray (D)
West Virginia: John D. Rockefeller IV (D)
Wisconsin: Russ Feingold (D) and Herbert Kohl (D)

Representatives:
Arizona: Jim Kolbe (R)
California: Lois Capps (D), Anna Eshoo (D), Sam Farr (D), Bob Filner (D), Michael Honda (D), Barbara Lee (D), George Miller (D), Loretta Sanchez (D), Brad Sherman (D), Mike Thompson (D), Henry Waxman (D), and Lynn Woolsey (D), Jane Harmon (D)
Colorado: Mark Udall (D)
Connecticut: Rosa DeLauro (D)
Florida: Allen Boyd (D)
Massachusetts: William Delahunt (D), Barney Frank (D), Stephen Lynch (D) and John Olver (D)
Michigan: Dale Kildee (D)
Minnesota: Martin Olav Sabo (D)
Mississippi: Bennie Thompson (D)
Montana: Dennis Rehberg (R)
New Hampshire: Charles Bass (R) and Jeb Bradley (R)
New Mexico: Tom Udall (D)
New York: Sherwood Boehlert (R), John McHugh (R) and Maurice Hinchey (D)
North Carolina: David Price (D)
Ohio: Marcy Kaptur (D) and Dennis Kucinich (D)
Oregon: Peter DeFazio (D) and Darlene Hooley (D)
Pennsylvania: Don Sherwood (R)
Texas: Lloyd Doggett (D)
Vermont: Bernie Sanders (Independent)
Virginia: Rick Boucher (D) and Jim Moran (D)
Washington: George Nethercutt (R), Rick Larson (D), Jim McDermott (D) and Brian Baird (D)
Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Kind (D)

If you have any questions, please contact Jay Feldman or Jessica Lunsford.