New USDA Standards a Boon To Consumers

October 21, 2002

(21 October, 2002 — Washington, DC)  With the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new rules for organic agriculture set to take full effect today, Environmental Defense praised the nation’s first legally enforceable federal standards covering production of organic foods.
“Organic foods are good for consumers and the environment,” said Rebecca Goldburg, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Environmental Defense and a member of USDA’s advisory body on organic agriculture, the National Organic Standards Board.  “Organic standards promote biological diversity and encourage farms to enhance soil fertility.  Consumers also benefit by having a clear choice to purchase food produced without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, antibiotics and other substances.”

“Organic isn’t just about fruits and vegetables,” Goldburg said.  “Shoppers will now be able to buy meat and poultry that is certified as USDA Organic and that is produced without the use of antibiotics.  By one estimate, more that 70% of the antibiotics used in the US are given to farm animals - a practice that is contributing to the worrisome increase in antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria.  One way that consumers can say no to drugs is to choose organic meat and poultry.”