Please join the House Organic Caucus or the Senate informal working group. The House co-chairs are: Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI); Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD); Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA); Rep. Amo Houghton (R-NY); Rep Peter Defazio (D-OR); Rep. James Walsh (R-NY). The Senate informal working group is being coordinated by Sen. Leahy's office.
Also, Congress should clarify that the National Organic Program (NOP) has jurisdiction over non-certified operations. Non-certified agricultural and handling operations, which produce more than $5000 per year, may be making unverified "organic" claims, and USDA's Office of General Counsel has stated that USDA has no subpoena or enforcement authority over non-certified operations.
There were two major reasons the organic community sought federal regulation: a consistent national standard and enforcement of the law. The National Organic Program has provided a consistent national standard; now the law must be enforced, both against those who are certified and flout the rule, and against those who sell product as organic without being certified.
The organic industry has already suffered severe attacks by those unwilling to play by the rules. This includes the recent attempt to prohibit USDA from enforcing its organic livestock feed standards (Section 771 of the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill).
After the repeal of Section 771, a House Member proposed hearings on organic in Energy and Commerce Committee. If the Member moves forward with this idea, OTA urges you to attend and voice your support of, and confidence in, the National Organic Program.
Comment to USDA in support of OTA's comments on proposed rules to label wild-caught fish as organically produced. Congress recently passed legislation requiring organic production standards for wild-caught fish. OTA opposes organic certification for wild-caught fish because the organic label is based on farming and the standards are written to ensure organic feed for livestock. However, representatives of the wild-caught fish industry want a label that will allow them to use the good name of organic agricultural management in marketing their products.