Strengthening Trust in the Organic Label
The USDA and the National Organic Program unveiled a new “Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule.” Organic Trade Association
CEO Tom Chapman said the regulation will do a lot to detect organic fraud and protect the integrity of organic agriculture.
Chapman… “When the standards were first published, they focused on controlling entities that touch the product, so farmers, processors who transform it or are mixing it, making them into finished goods, and anyone who's labeling it. That's really where the standards focused. It didn't focus on the folks who stored products, that maybe didn't process it at all, or all the entities that handled the product on paper - they traded, they brokered them – and, as organic grew from $6 billion to $63 billion, supply chains got more complex, and those entities become much more prevalent, and there's opportunities for them to switch around some paperwork and make something conventional look organic.”
While those fraudulent cases were rare, it was important to get a handle on the situation.
Chapman… “Organic relies on consumer trust, and any cases of fraud are one case too many. So, we worked with Congress in 2018 to mandate in that farm bill additional enforcement activities and a lot of the requirements in there to bring this rule into force now in 2023.”
Chapman added that despite recent challenges, the U.S. organic industry is still growing.