"alert" (time Limited) - Comment To Usda Re Organic (beer) S

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Hi All,

Did a quick search and nobody else seems to have posted this yet. Apologies to moderators if I have put this in the wrong forum.

I received the email below today. There is still time to comment (had to be in yesterday, but on US time). Appears you need to comment by ~2PM Sydney time to be most effective. I did the quick petition link below. Just picked other for state and put state/country info on the City line. Doesn't say you have to be a US resident.

Even if you're not interested, I thought some might find the other links useful...

Cheers, Brian


From: Seven Bridges Cooperative [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:36
Subject: Preserve the Integrity of Organic Beer! Urgent Alert!




We are sending you this newsletter at the last minute because we just heard the news yesterday. Did you know that many of the organic beers being sold today that are certified organic by the USDA are actually made with non-organic hops? Here at Seven Bridges, this fact has dissappointed us for many years, but we did not do too much about it because we knew that that loophole was scheduled to change very soon. In June of this year when the National Standards prohibiting commercially available non organic ingredients in certified organic products would go into effect. That law is being seriously weakened by industry influence by the lobbying efforts of companies like Budweiser, who have successfully convinced the USDA National Organic Program to allow hops on the list of ingredients allowed in beer bearing the USDA organic seal. We have a final chance to reverse this decision by voicing our concerns to the USDA by Midnight Eastern time (9 PM PST). See below for 2 ways to do this, and for other ways you can make a difference in the goal of keeping organic standards pure here in the USA.

If you need proof that great beer can be made with all organic malt and hops, our business is that proof. We founded our business 10 years ago when organic hops were almost impossible to obtain in the USA. Despite the scarity and initial limited selection, we have suceeded in creating a wide range of beer styles. Today, we offer a range of organic beer kits which represent nearly every major beer style in the world, using only organic hops. Many of our recipes have won awards in homebrewing contests over the years, even when competing against non organic beers made with non organic hops. Virtually all of the hops we use are imported from Germany, New Zealand, Great Britan, and Belgium. We have to import because US growers do not have enough financial incentive to grow organic hops commercially. If large breweries such as Budweiser invested in US organic hop farming instead of using thier resources to lobby to weaken National Organic Standards, we are certain the US organic hop supply would grow quickly as a result.


If possible, comment TODAY by 12 pm Eastern Time, 9 PM Pacific Time!

EASY WAY: sign the Organic Consumers Association petition (you can edit the text any way you like if you do not agree with all points):


MOST EFFECTIVE WAY: post your comments directly to the USDA website, where they will be listed for others to see. Instructions for doing this are here:


Here is a sample letter. Please feel free to use it if you agree with all the points, or edit it as you see fit:

To: Robert Pooler, Agricultural Marketing Specialist From: I am writing to express my opposition to one of the items included on Docket No. AMS-TM-07-0062, the National Organic Program (NOP) Proposed Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, specifically hops. I strongly feel as an organic consumers that if a product is sold as organic, at a higher price because of the organic seal, then it should contain only organic ingredients. If an organic ingredient can not be found, to preserve the integrity of the organic seal, that product should no longer be labeled organic. It is true that organically grown ingredients are not as abundant as their pesticide, herbacide, fungicide sprayed non organic counterparts. This fact will not change while the demand for organic versions remains weak. This state of affairs will only change if breweries wishing to sell organic beer are required to use organic hops. It is eroding consumer confidence and the integrity of the organic seal to allow primary ingredients such as hops to be used in non organic form in organic products.

I am concerned about the current trend of the growing organic marketplace, where industry is producing products that attempt to be exactly the same as the non-organic versions to the point where it puts pressure on producers to compromise and weaken standards. This is a destructive force that is entirely opposed to the spirit of true organic foods, which celebrate the ingredients which ARE available, and are perhaps different but still delicious and healthy. By bowing to industry pressures to allow the substitions of non organic ingredients, there are now products on supermarket shelves with the USDA organic seal that contain primary ingredients such as hops which are not organic. Beer at its very basic level should only contain 4 main ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, and water. By allowing the seal on beer that is only required to have one of those 4 ingredients be certified organic, in our opinion it renders the USDA seal untrustworthy.

Please consider these arguments in your final decision. Please do not allow hops to be included on the the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.


Demand True Organic Brew! Whether you brew it yourself or buy it in stores, we encourage all organic consumers to uphold the "Organic Beer Purity Law". Demand that the 2 key ingredients which are cultivated in the Earths soil are certified organic: barley and hops. These 2 ingredients are commercially available, and if you spend more to get organic beer, you should be entitled to organic beer made with organic barley and hops. If a beer label does not specify organic hops, the hops are probobly not organic. As a consumer its your right to know, so when in doubt ask the brewery if they use certified organic hops!

Learn more about the issue:

The environmental impact of spraying hop fields is severe. Read this excerpt from Chris O'Briens book, "Fermenting Revolution", to get a better picture:

" Virtually all American hops are grown using conventional agricultural methods, relying heavily on fungicides to control mildews and pesticides to keep hop aphids in check. An issue of concern to even the most casual observer is the fact that allowable levels and types of pesticide use vary greatly from one country to the next. For example, Germany and the US, two major hop-producing countries, use wildly different regulations on pesticide-use for hops. According to Dr. Adrian Forster: "From altogether 80 available hop spraying agents 40 are licensed in Germany at the moment and 11 in the USA. Only six [of these agents] are licensed in both countries. Consequently five agents licensed in the USA may not be used in Germany and 34 sprayings licensed in Germany may not be applied in the USA." Paraquat is a good example. It has been banned or severely restricted in sixteen countries, including most of northern Europe, and is included on the Pesticide Action Network's "Dirty Dozen" list of the worst pesticides, but its use is still allowed in the US. Endothall is a highly toxic herbicide also allowed on US-grown hops. According to Environmental Defense, it is suspected of causing kidney and blood damage in humans, and is believed to be toxic to fish. Until 1993, the acutely toxic pesticide fosetyl-al was also allowed in US hops production, but was finally banned by the Delaney clause, a landmark directive prohibiting the use of food additives known to induce cancer in humans or animals."

There are plenty of resources out there if you know where to look. If you are a farmer wanting to grow a cash crop of organic hops, here are a couple of links:


offers organically grown (but not certified organic) hops rhizomes, herb seeds and plants. A family owned and operated business dedicated to improving the environment.


Cranng Ales is Canada's only Certified Organic farmhouse microbrewery, one of only a handful of such breweries in the world. they brew unfiltered, unpasteurized ales using only organic ingredients, some of which come right from their own farm. Definitely visit this site to learn more about growing organic hops!

In case you did not know, we offer the worlds best selection of organic hops, including 3 brand new Belgium/English varities that just arrived! Browse our growing selection here:


This message was sent from Seven Bridges Cooperative
eesh, might have to stick to Aussie & Kiwi hops from now on

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