The European Commission yesterday called for more support for organic agriculture and decreased beef production throughout Europe as a way to counter the mad cow disease crisis. The crisis "demonstrates the need for a return to farming methods that are more in tune with the environment," said the European Union farm commissioner, Franz Fischler. In other news, the commission proposed yesterday that chemical companies should have to prove that their products don’t pose threats to human health or the environment — or else have the chemicals banned from the market. The plan would force companies to evaluate the most common and hazardous chemicals by 2005, with all remaining chemicals tested by 2012.