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Organic meat

USDA looking to allow yet more synthetic chemicals in organic meat

Friday, July 21, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: organic meat, grocery warning, health news


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(NewsTarget) The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking to lower the standard by which "organic" products are labeled by expanding the number of substances allowable in the treatment of livestock according to the National Organic Program.

If the USDA's proposed rule passes, livestock will be treated with such chemicals as:

Atropine, a lethal belladonna extract used to treat pesticide exposure. The NOP approved the use of atropine after consulting with the EPA and FDA.

Bismuth subsalicyate, an anti-diarrhea drug used to treat ulcers. The FDA said that bismuth could be approved for use in livestock, because it is already approved for use in humans.

Butorphanol, a pre-surgical painkiller that was recommended for use by the National Organic Standards Board; but they requested that slaughter or sale of milk from the treated cow be twice as long as the FDA requirement (an extension the USDA feels is unnecessary).

Flunxin is a non-narcotic and non-steroidal drug used to treat inflammation or pyrexia. Like Butorphanol, the NOSB requested the time between use of the substance and slaughter or milking be twice what the FDA recommends and, again, the USDA felt the measure unnecessary.

Furosemide, a diuretic drug -- used to treat udder and pulmonary edema -- that the NOSB also requested have an extended period to flush out of an animal before its milk or meat is sold for consumption. The USDA said the extension was unnecessary for this drug too.

Magnesium hydroxide is a naturally occurring mineral that can be used to treat stomach troubles, constipation and acid indigestion.

Peroxyacetic/paracetic acid, which is approved as an indirect food additive by the FDA, is a sanitizer used to clean processing equipment and to disinfect animals, meat and dairy.

Poloxalene, is a synthetic stool softener that can treat bloat in cattle, and while the NOSB recommends that the substance only be approved for emergency situations, the USDA wants it to be added to feed as a preventative measure.

With this move, it appears the USDA has again lost sight of whose interests it was formed to protect. Not only are proposed changes like this now skewing the very definition of "organic," they are disregarding NOSB safety recommendations in the process.

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams added, "This move is yet another attempt to erode the definition of 'organic' in order to appease commercial interests who have suddenly discovered there's big money to be made in selling people products labeled as 'organic,' regardless if whether they really are."

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