Friday, April 12, 2013

We Win! Antibiotics in Apple and Pear Growing to End

Do you remember the Center for Food Safety (CFS) petition you signed last week urging the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to phase out antibiotics in the growing of organic apples and pears?

Well, in another example of people power, the NOSB listened to our concerns and won't allow the use of tetracycline in apple and pear orchards past 2014. Here's the email I just received from CFS detailing the news:

"Yesterday we scored an important victory to end the use of antibiotics in organic apple and pear production and to uphold organic integrity! 
"Thank you for your support!

"Thanks to the more than 30,000 CFS members like you who signed our petition and to the good work of our allies like Consumers Union, Food and Water Watch, and others, we convinced the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to not extend the allowance of the antibiotic tetracycline beyond 2014 for organic apple and pear production!

"This decision is a victory for the organic standards and advances efforts to preserve the continued effectiveness of antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a serious threat to public health, and the World Health Organization has labeled tetracycline a 'critically important' drug for combating human infections. Antibiotics are not allowed in the production of any other organic food, including organic poultry and livestock.

"The vote came after extended public testimony where some apple and pear growers testified about concerns that they may not have adequate alternatives to prevent fire blight disease that could arise in their orchards. But, as scientists discussed at the meeting, a range of orchard management practices, as well as a substitute for the use of tetracycline, will be available this year. And, orchardists still have two growing seasons to phase out the use of tetracycline.

"CFS believes the Board made the right decision and we could not have achieved this important victory without you—thank you!

"PS – For more background information and campaign updates on our work protecting the Organic Standards, visit our website."
Have a nice weekend and the next victory will be for the labeling of foods containing genetically-engineered ingredients!


Anonymous said...

Yeah great "win"... Now the alternatives which aren't quite as prevalent as this article suggests rely on the use of copper sprays. A synthetic listed on 205.601 (The same as tetracycline) which poses serious environmental and safety risks.

Copper unlike tetracycline (which under the worst conditions has a half life of 10 days, a matter of hours if it is raining) has a huge potential for soil accumulation and is dangerous for the applicator.

The risk of lateral gene transfer, while a concern, was minimal. The "substitute" which is mentioned in the email is a copper amine spray which hasn't been approved for use in organics, and hasn't even been approved by the EPA.

Best case scenario we have traded a benign .601 synthetic for another .601 synthetic with negative impacts on both the environment and the applicators. Worst case scenario this "substitute" proves to be as inconsistent as the other copper + biological control treatments we have seen and we get to watch as we lose our orchards and have to import our organic apples for South America.

So yeah... thanks for blindly listening to alarmists like CFS and Beyond Pesticide great job...

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