Authors of Organic Foods Production Act Criticize USDA Changes

April 25th, 2014

The National Organic Coalition

usda logoThe National Organic Coalition has released a letter from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) that articulates their concerns about recent changes to the “Sunset” policy enacted by the USDA concerning the organic program’s policies on synthetic and non-organic materials used in organic food and agriculture.

Directing their letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the members of Congress wrote:

“As the principal authors of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, we are writing to raise concerns about the recent sunset policy change made by your agency, which we believe to be in conflict with both the letter and intent of the statute. We are particularly concerned that such a substantive policy change was made without the benefit of full notice and comment.

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 establishes the overall principle that in order for any organic product to be labeled as “organic”, it must be “produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals.” In recognition that there may be circumstances where a synthetic chemical is needed, and no non-synthetic material is available to address the need, the law also establishes a very thorough review process whereby certain synthetic chemicals could be permitted for use in organic products under a temporary exemption to the synthetic prohibition but would sunset after 5 years….”

Click here to read the rest of the letter.

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