NCBA Applauds USDA's Withdrawal of Organic Marketing Rule

NCBA Applauds USDA's Withdrawal of Organic Marketing Rule

The rule covered animal care from production practices to transport, slaughter and living conditions for organic livestock and poultry. The effective date for this rule was initially March 20, 2017, and was subsequently delayed to May 19, 2017.

The Trump administration has chose to withdraw an Obama-era rule that would have set new standards for the way animals should be treated if their meat is going to be sold as "certified organic". Trust in the organic seal depended on it, some advocates insisted.

Thicke said a group of organic farmers in the United States have created their own label, the Real Organic Project, and hope to have pilot farms certified this summer with eventual rollout nationally.

The OTA has turned to the courts to force USDA to uphold the organic livestock standards.

The USDA said Monday the rule would also have increased costs for producers and consumers.

"USDA's action to withdraw the OLPP rule is a mistake that will cost the family producers who already adhere to strict standards in order to meet "organic" standards", said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers. "Not only did USDA not have the legal authority to implement animal-welfare regulations, but the rule would have also vilified conventionally raised livestock without recognizing our commitment to raise all cattle humanely, regardless of the marketing program they're in".

Last May, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, seeking to communicate his view of the agency's duty to the American people, said, "We owe it to the consumer to let them know we are concerned about their safety and the wholesomeness, nutritious capacity about the food they consume".

"The Organic Trade Association will immediately amend the complaint to yet again challenge USDA's latest attempt to kill a rule that has been fully vetted over a decade".

The USDA found "significant" legal and policy issues with the rule; after accepting several round of public comment, the department announced in December 2017 it meant to withdraw the rule outright rather than update it.

"The USDA's unconscionable action does not deter us", said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the OTA said in a statement. We had some admission by the USDA that the industry had been camping out in their office bending their arms and their ears. The USDA has also ignored comments from key members of Congress that contradict the agency's recently-formed interpretation. USDA has requested that this case be dismissed; now they have announced they are withdrawing the rule.

The rule would have created significant barriers to existing and new organic producers, according to National Pork Producers Council.

The rule refines and clarifies a series of organic animal welfare recommendations incorporated into the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which established the federal organic regulations. Importantly, the rule closed a loophole in current regulations that allow large poultry companies to skirt the law and use screened-in porches to satisfy "outdoor access" requirements.