GREENFIELD, Mass. (June 12, 2000)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today submitted its comprehensive response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule for national organic standards. The document submitted includes 84 pages of general and specific comments, as well as appendices.
"OTA’s comments were developed through an amazingly intensive process involving many volunteer hours of review. This has resulted in cogent, detailed, well-analyzed comments that speak to the needs and concerns of the organic industry," said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the trade association representing all segments of the organic industry in North America.
OTA’s response was coordinated by its Quality Assurance Committee (QAC), a standing committee of the OTA board. QAC and its 11 sub-committees consist of over 200 volunteers who discuss, evaluate, and make recommendations concerning OTA’s positions regarding industry standards. QAC recommendations then are brought to OTA’s Board of Directors for discussion and approval.
"OTA members who served on QAC and its sub-committees for this rules response should be commended," said DiMatteo, adding, "Industry consensus of this kind is one of the strengths of OTA."
By following this same procedure, OTA last year developed and adopted the American Organic Standards, the industry’s updated guidelines that were helpful in formulating OTA’s comments.
A majority of the detailed comments are posted on OTA’s web site (www.ota.com) Click on "Response to USDA Proposed Rule for national organic standards," and then "OTA’s response."
In addition to supporting the development of national organic standards, OTA has been instrumental in seeking governmental recognition of the organic agriculture sector. OTA continues to push for the inclusion of organic agriculture in USDA agricultural programs, including funding for accreditation, research, crop insurance, and certification cost sharing for existing organic farms and other producers.
June 12, 2000
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