Biden administration announces move to combat ‘organic fraud’
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Update their regulations on organic food labelsAs part of an effort to fill gaps and increase confidence in the agency’s organic seal.
“This update to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations strengthens oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic produce.” The agency said in a statement Thursday.
The USDA shared that the new rules, which will be the “largest update to organic regulations” since 1990, hope to provide “a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to boost consumer confidence, farmers, and those who are transitioning to organic production. “
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Previously, the USDA had a strict definition of “certified organic,” allowing only the label to be used For products that meet certain criteria For soil quality, animal husbandry practices, pest and weed control, and additive use.
The new rules will tighten certification requirements along the organic food supply chain, require certification for imported goods and strengthen inspection protocols.
Under the new requirements, non-retail containers will be required to sport organic labels to “reduce mishandling of organic products” and “support traceability.”
Protection and development of the organic sector f The USDA Certified Organic Seal is an essential part of the USDA’s Food Systems Transformation Initiative,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
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The Organic Trade Association applauded the new rules, saying the policy “will have significant and far-reaching impacts on the organic sector and will do much to deter and detect organic fraud and protect organic safety throughout the supply chain.”
In a Federal Register noticeThe USDA has identified examples of fraud in organic foods in recent months.
this week, Two Minnesota farmers charged Allegedly planning to sell more than $46 million of chemically treated crops as organic between 2014 and 2021.
In another case tried in Iowa in 2019, the defendant sold about $142 million in non-organic grain over seven years, claiming the grain was inaccurate. Organically grown in Nebraska and Missouri. Four people were sentenced to prison in the case.
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“This rule includes more robust tracking and verification practices that would have helped identify and stop this type of fraud earlier, prevent further sales of fraudulent products and reduce the impact of fraud,” the USDA said in the notice.