Judge Allows Lawsuit on Organic Sunset Review Rule Change to ProceedSeptember 12th, 2016
Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia, along with 14 other stakeholders, has filed suit against the USDA challenging the unilateral changes made by the agency to the “Sunset” process. The lawsuit argues that the changes made to the review of synthetic materials allowed for use in organics were consequential, arbitrary, and failed to provide an opportunity for essential public input.
USDA Can’t Slide on Organic Food Rules
Courthouse News Service
by Nicholas Iovino
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A federal judge Thursday refused to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the Secretary of Agriculture illegally changed the process for reviewing substances used in organic farming.
After dismissing the lawsuit without prejudice in October 2015, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. on Thursday found that food safety advocates adequately alleged harm in an amended complaint and set a case management conference to push the case toward trial.
The Center for Food Safety and 13 others sued Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in April 2015, claiming the government changed a key provision of the Organic Foods Production Act without sufficient notice or public input.
The law required that synthetic materials be removed from the list of approved organic farming substances every five years, absent a two-thirds vote by the National Organic Standards Board.
In 2013, the sunset provision was altered, allowing nonorganic materials to remain on the approved list indefinitely, unless the 15-member board specifically voted to remove them.