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Letters to the editor

NFM Staff

April 24, 2008

3 Min Read
Letters to the editor

ACA backs final rule on nonorganic ingredients

Dear Editor:
The Accredited Certifiers Association is pleased to see that the United States Department of Agriculture published an interim final rule regarding additions to the National List for nonorganic agricultural ingredients, and extended the comment period for another 60 days.

We have become concerned that recent media coverage about the changes is missing the point that these changes are a tightening of the regulations. Although it would appear that the listing of 38 nonorganic, agricultural "minor" ingredients to the National List is an expansion of what is allowed, it actually reduces the number of such ingredients. It is a very short list compared to the thousands of possible ingredients that are now prohibited.

Prior to the new interim rules' publication, organic processors could use any nonorganic agricultural ingredient they needed, at less than 5 percent of an organic product, provided they could document that it was not commercially available in organic form. Section 205.606 of the National List provides a list of nonorganic ingredients that may comprise up to 5 percent of the content of a product. These ingredients are permitted only when the organic equivalent is unavailable commercially.

We are concerned that only having part of the story of the proposed changes to the National List may create doubt about the integrity of the organic label and, in turn, reduce the demand for organic products, ultimately damaging the livelihood of all organic producers.

Consumers concerned about use of nonorganic ingredients have the option to search for, and reward producers with, their purchase of products labeled "100 Percent Organic."

The ACA is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 that is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of organic products. The ACA plays a key role in fostering communication among certifiers, which is a crucial element in the ongoing effort to maintain our high standards?as well as the public's respect for the certifications we provide. View our full Open Letter to the Organic Food Community at:

—Patricia Kane, coordinator, Accredited Certifiers Association Inc.

Probing probiotics

Dear Editor:
I feel compelled to point out a few inaccuracies in "Probiotics: The Guts of G.I. Health" by Dan Lukaczer, N.D., in your May 2007 issue.

According to citations submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the only safe probiotic organisms are those from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Mr. Lukaczer's article did not address the serious concerns about the safety of E. coli and S. boulardii nor the use of other organisms dangerous to human health that are unwisely used as probiotics, such as Enterococcus faecium; Enterococcus faecalis; Lactobacillus sporogenes (frequent misnomer, actually Bacillus coagulans) and Bacillus species.

Additionally, Lactobacillus GG is not the common name for all strains of Lactobacillus casei subspecies rhamnosus. GG is only one of the strains, although it is favored due to properties it possesses that are not present in any of the other strains.

The article also refers to a "mix of 400-odd different bacterial species." That estimate is too low. The latest scientific literature cites that there could be as many as 1,000 species. (Sears, 2005; Eckburg, 2005).

Despite Mr. Lukaczer's emphasis on strains, he lists the eight bacterium contained in VSL #3, but neglects to mention that none of the strains are identified, nor is there any specific guarantee of potency of each of the species listed. Is the end user to assume that the combination of these organisms is consistent from batch to batch without any guarantee? I think not.

As the author of two probiotic standards adopted by industry, it continues to disturb me that despite the promises made in 1994 to Congress that the standards would be upheld, the industry has religiously ignored this commitment. I think it is time we take stock of our behavior.

—Natasha Trenev, Founder and President
Natren Inc.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 15

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