USDA Publishes Final Organic Rule Incorporating IDFA Comments
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week published a final rule to revise the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations and implement 2005 amendments to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The final rule incorporates suggestions and clarifications that IDFA put forth in its comments to USDA last month. (To see "IDFA Submits Comments to USDA on Organic Rulemaking," click here.)
The final rule revises the NOP regulations to clarify that non-organically produced products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" only when such organic products are not commercially available. That clarification, which IDFA supported, also makes clear that products in the "made with organic ingredients" category do not have to follow these more stringent requirements applied to products labeled "organic." The effective date of this revision is June 9, 2007.
"We're pleased that USDA incorporated these changes into the final rule," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president for regulatory affairs. "The clarifications clearly distinguish the differences between the 'organic' and 'made with organic ingredients' product categories, which will be a benefit to consumers as well as the dairy industry."
The final rule sets a deadline for eliminating what is commonly known as the "80/20" feed provision, which allows dairy producers to use 20% non-organic feed during the first nine months of a one-year herd conversion from conventional to organic production. After June 9, 2007, milk produced under the 80/20 provision will no longer qualify to be labeled as organic.
In addition, the final rule allows crops from land in its third year of organic management to be fed to converting animals for one year before their milk is sold as "organic." This new provision for converting herds allows more flexibility than the feeding rules for established organic herds, which require that animals be fed with crops from land that has been organically managed for a full three years before the crops are harvested. IDFA supported this new provision.
To read the final rule, click here.
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Posted June 12, 2006