May 28, 2004
The Honorable Ann Veneman
United States Department of Agriculture
14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Madame Secretary:
We are writing to commend your recent announcement directing the Agricutural Marketing Service to rescind all of the directives issued by Richard Matthews, Program Manager of the National Organic Program. Thanks to your decision, consumers will be able to continue to purchase organic milk, fruits and vegetables with confidence. And while the USDA works with the National Organic Standards Board to create proposed standards for organic fish, Consumers Union urges you to prohibit the use of any organic label on fish.
We hope that this action is a sign of renewed cooperation between the USDA, the National Organic Standards Board, and the public—all of which deserve a National Organic Program that has meaning, integrity and accountability. Building on your recent announcement, Consumers Union hopes that USDA will continue to meet its duty to the public by making sure that all stakeholders, including consumers and consumer organizations, have access and input to any decision that could result in significant changes in the National Organic Program or its implementation.
R. David Pittle, Ph.D.
Sr. Vice President, Technical Policy
Director, Consumer Policy Institute
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D.
Director, Eco-labels.org Project
Adam J. Goldberg
cc: United States Senate
Members, House of Representatives Organic Caucus