USDA offers policy statements on controversial NOP items - Organic Trade Association
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USDA offers policy statements on controversial NOP items


News Release                        For more information, contact
For immediate release            Holly Givens (413-774-7511, Ext. 18)


USDA offers policy statements on controversial NOP items 

GREENFIELD, Mass. (April 22, 2005)--The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for posting its responses concerning issues raised in National Organic Program (NOP) guidance documents and directives issued and withdrawn in 2004.

"A year ago, USDA published documents that caught everyone by surprise. Since that time, USDA has listened to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and is publicly responding to NOSB recommendations," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director.


DiMatteo, however, said OTA is disappointed with USDA's stance to not regulate operations that produce cosmetics and personal care products to meet current NOP standards.


"USDA's position is that personal care products and cosmetics cannot use the 'USDA Organic' seal at all even if companies have met national organic standards requirements for food. This is very disappointing to those companies that have worked diligently to become certified," DiMatteo said. USDA, however, has indicated that companies will be allowed to list as organic on the label any agricultural ingredients in the products that are certified to NOP standards.


DiMatteo said OTA will continue to work diligently to encourage the adoption of industry standards for personal care products. "Fortunately, OTA's efforts to develop standards for organic personal care products are nearing completion. OTA will encourage companies to use these industry standards once they are finalized and will look at legislative measures that bring assurance to consumers and create a level playing field for these companies," DiMatteo said.


In its posting, NOP said it will allow fishmeal preserved with natural substances as a feed additive or supplement, and only allow approved known inert materials in pesticide formulations. It also upheld the prohibition of antibiotic use for organically produced livestock and said it will consider drafting a rule to address the issue of the length of time dairy livestock must be managed organically before dairy products may be sold as organic. NOP has already set in motion NOSB's recommendation for forming a task force with two working groups to consider organic standards for farm-raised and wild-caught fish and seafood. It also initiated a pet food task force to address organic labeling for this category, and said it will pursue additional rulemaking to cover organic standards for mushrooms, apiculture and honey, and greenhouse operations.

See for NOP's posting.


The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business association representing the organic agriculture industry in North America. Its nearly 1,600 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others.


April 22, 2005

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