For Immediate Release Contact: Holly Givens, (413) 774-7511, Ext. 18
Organic Trade Association:
USDA Moves Ahead with Final Rule
Greenfield, Mass. (June 7, 2006)— The organic business community needs to be aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule in the Federal Register today that revises the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations to comply with the final court order in the Harvey v. Johanns lawsuit and implement the 2005 amendments to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (the Act or OFPA).
"Thanks to action by Congress, standards about the use of synthetic materials that were debated by the public for over a decade will remain in place, along with the stringent criteria that must be used to evaluate materials for use in organic production," said Caren Wilcox, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). "Organic Trade Association looks forward to closing this chapter, and moving forward on issues such as the Farm Bill and encouraging more farmers to choose organic methods."
The final rule restores the National List of synthetic materials used in products labeled as "organic" to the pre-lawsuit status of 2002. Read about the National List, and the criteria used to evaluate materials here: http://www.ota.com/listbackground05.html.
The final rule also clarifies that non-organic agricultural materials may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" only when such organic products are not commercially available.
Organic dairy producers need to be aware that the final rule, as expected, eliminates the allowance for up to 20 percent non-organic feed during the first 9 months of the year of transition to organic production for dairy animals. Instead, the final rule will allow crops and forage from land that is included in the organic dairy system plan of a dairy farm and is in its third year of organic management to be fed to the converting animals.
USDA also mentioned there will be further rulemaking to come concerning dairy animal replacements.
"OTA looks forward to working on rulemaking concerning dairy issues," said Wilcox. "Fortunately, there is an orderly way to make changes to the rules through public comment, and Organic Trade Association supports that orderly system."
To read the final rule and read multiple effective dates, see: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Newsroom/HarveyvJohannsFR05_23_06.pdf
The mission of the Organic Trade Association is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. As a membership-based business association, the Organic Trade Association focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's 1,700 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com.
June 7, 2006
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