Synthetic Organic?

I have a friend in Washington DC who is a whistle blower and a policy analyst at the EPA and he sends me emails everyday. I found his most recent message regarding the new proposal about synthetic methionine in organic poultry production both interesting and utterly annoying:

The USDA will publish on February 6, 2012 a proposed rule that would continue the allowance of synthetic methionine in organic poultry production but at reduced levels from the current allowable levels.

The current allowance for synthetic methionine expires on October 1, 2012 and allows 4 pounds per ton of feed for laying chickens; 5 pounds per ton of feed for broiler chickens; and 6 pounds per ton of feed for turkeys and other poultry. The proposed rule would permit organic poultry producers to use synthetic methionine after October 1, 2012 at the following maximum levels: laying and broiler chickens – 2 pounds per ton of feed; turkeys and all other poultry – 3 pounds per ton of feed.

Methionine is classified as an essential amino acid, and is required for proper cell development and feathering. Poultry animals cannot biologically produce methionine on their own.

So, my friend sends out a quick note asking if anyone knows how bad this is and what does it mean? Mark A. Kastel from The Cornucopia Institute ( replied:  “This is a synthetic amino acid. Not much of a downside that I know of. The industry has been working to come up with a natural alternative. Birds that are outside on true pasture don’t need this (they get it from bugs/worms).”

So I urge you to ask your merchant: “Are those ‘organic’ eggs from chickens running around eating bugs and worms ?”

Or consider raising chickens yourself!

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