New organic rule will require more certifications

The Organic Trade Association says more operations in the food supply chain will need to become compliant with the USDA’s organic rule finalized this week.

CEO Tom Chapman tells Brownfield USDA’s Strengthening Organic Enforcement final rule is meant to ensure the integrity of the organic brand.

“It’s the only eco-label that comes with federal enforcement,” he says.  “When you look at natural, non-GMO, regenerative—it’s just not as defined and doesn’t come with the same enforcement.”

All touchpoints throughout the organic supply chain will now need certification, like a grain elevator or marketer.

“All those entities, if the product is not in a retail packaged product, will now need to be certified when they may not have needed to be certified in the past,” he says.

Chapman says every pound of an organic imported product will also need an additional certificate which will help detect and reduce fraud.  

“The USDA will be able to take that data and monitor it against production data of each country where products are coming from to make sure that only the amount of land and products certified are actually being brought into the U.S., so it matches,” he explains.  “It really makes the entire reporting process much more robust.”

The final rule implements 2018 Farm Bill mandates and is the biggest change to organic regulations since the National Organic Program was created in 2000.

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