Today is the last day for the public to comment on the Department of Agriculture proposal to allow 38 non-organic ingredients in foods labeled with the USDA Organic logo.
Already, the proposed rule has engendered a sizable reaction. As of Monday morning, 1,433 public comments were available for review on the government's regulations.gov site. (To comment, or to find and read information about the proposal, search for docket No. AMS-TM-07-0062 or for more detailed instructions, click here.)
The USDA regulates the use of the word "organic" to aid consumers trying to choose products in the marketplace. The new rule tweaks the existing rules, affecting only foods labeled "USDA Organic" -- but not those labeled "100% organic," those that bear the words "made with organic" ingredients, or those that have the word "organic" in the list of food ingredients. Foods labeled with the "USDA organic" logo have, since the inception of the federal labeling program, had up to 5% non-organic ingredients. Only ingredients that food makers could not find in organic form were allowed in the 5% non-organic portion.
The USDA list being proposed specifies which 38 ingredients those should be. The primary reasons ingredients are proposed for the list is that they aren't available in sufficient quantity or quality from organic producers, or because there is no method for certifying them as organic. If they become available in an organic form in sufficient quantities or qualities, food makers will be required to use them if they label their foods with the "USDA organic" logo.
The list of 38 ingredients was whittled down from petitions from the food industry that would have allowed hundreds of non-organic ingredients. The Organic Consumers Association has led a push to reduce the scope of the list further, while groups like the Organic Trade Association and others within the organic farming and food making community support the USDA proposal as a pragmatic approach to the realities of the marketplace.
Click on the links below to read The Daily Green's special report on the subject.
Truth In Organics A special report about the USDA organic program, and the government proposal to allow dozens of non-organic ingredients in certified organic foods. The 38 Non-organic Ingredients In 'USDA Organic' Foods
What They Are, How They''re Used, And How They Made The List
When "Organic" Doesn't Quite Mean Organic
If A Sausage Is Organic, Why Isn't The Casing?
In-fighting In The Organic Movement
Two Prominent Organic Advocates Argue Over The Future Of Organic, And How To Grow The Market
How To Comment On The USDA's Proposed Non-Organic List
The Public Has Until August 27 To Weigh In
Easy Organic Recipe Ideas
Great Ideas For Greening Your Diet
Organic Schmanic. Why Should I Pay More For Food?
The Reasons For Buying Organic Foods Keep Growing, And Include Some You''ve Probably Never Thought Of.
Organic Labels Come In Different Shapes and Sizes
A Guide To Organic Labels And Their Confusing Cousins
Blog: Organic Labels / Garden Division
Leslie Land Redbook Magazine
Truth About Organic Foods
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