USDA labels farmed fish ‘organic’, candy corn a ‘vegetable’, and Bush an ‘environmentalist’

Okay, I made up the last two, but the Washington Post reports today:

For the first time, a federal advisory board has approved criteria that clear the way for farmed fish to be labeled “organic,” a move that pleased aquaculture producers even as it angered environmentalists and consumer advocates.

You can put lipstick on a pig…. No, wrong aphorism. You can call a dog a horse, but it is still a dog … though some conservatives will no doubt try to ride it.

OK, maybe there isn’t a good aphorism, but this last minute frenzy of destruction is getting absurd (see “Bush makes final push to worsen warming, make our children dumber, and sicken all Americans”). The story offers several reasons why this latest assault on our language and environment is a bad idea:


Environmentalists and consumer advocates blasted the recommendations, which would serve as the basis for regulations to be issued by the Agriculture Department. Activists questioned why up to 25 percent of fish feed could be made up of non-organic material, while all other animals certified as organic must eat 100 percent organic feed. They also noted that open-net pens can harm the environment by allowing fish waste and disease to pollute the ocean.

“What we think is at stake is not just the integrity of a standard for fish but the whole organic standard and consumer confidence in it,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “A huge part of the growth in organic is driven by people looking for food that comes with assurance. When you start bending the rules, that’s a big risk.”

… Surveys show that most consumers have little sense of what it would mean to produce organic fish and expect that these animals would come under much stricter environmental controls than those the National Organic Standards Board approved.

Consumers Union released a poll last week in which 93 percent of respondents said fish labeled organic should be produced with 100 percent organic feed; 90 percent said organic fish farms should be required to recover waste and not pollute the environment.

Just keep saying to yourself, “January 20, January 20, January 20.”