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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'National Organic Standards Board/National Organic Program' Category


23
May

Study Shows Value of Organic Practices in Lowering Environmental Impact of Agriculture 

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2024)  A study recently published in the journal Nature compared the impact of organic and conventional food production using eight environmental health indicators and found that organic food has a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional food production for six of the eight indicators, including a lower potential for contributing to acidification of the environment, energy use, and biodiversity loss. For the analysis, scientists reviewed 100 different “life cycle assessments” (LCA) of organic and conventionally grown food products from cradle-to-farm gate.    LCA is a commonly used methodology to estimate food production system impacts on the environment through resource depletion and pollutant emissions. The results—that organic food production is less impactful on the environment—add to the robust body of research that underscores the importance of organic farming to the development of a sustainable global food system while addressing climate change. Beyond Pesticides has long argued that one of the most powerful tools in fighting global warming is organic agriculture, as it sequesters atmospheric carbon, eliminates the use of fossil fuel-based synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, and provides environmental and human health benefits. This study and most of the 100 studies it evaluates, do not recognize that conventional […]

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14
May

Multiple Studies Demonstrate the Importance of Strengthening Organic in the Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2024) As research continues to emerge on the value of organic farming, U.S. Congress debates its future as Farm Bill negotiations have been stalled for months. Recent studies published within the past few months show the significance of organic agriculture’s support of fungal and microbial life, which is essential to soil health. Meanwhile, last week the Democrat-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives presented their respective visions to amend the 2024 Farm Bill. The office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released an initial Senate framework for the (now 2024) Farm Bill. At the same time, U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, released an outline of the House version, then followed up with more details. While the Senate Democratic proposal includes more robust support for expanding and strengthening organic product supply chains and domestic production, the House Republican support for organic land management principles and practices demonstrates that the Farm Bill could recognize, across the political spectrum, its economic, ecological, and public health benefits in the United States. Despite this, a growing coalition of advocates is alerting the public and members of Congress that the […]

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09
May

Take Action: Advocates Call for Strong Organic Mushroom and Pet Food Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8-9, 2024) In its proposal on mushrooms and pet food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program is following up on recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to ensure that two areas of organic production are clarified and in compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). The notice raises questions of standards that ultimately grow the organic market while ensuring that the USDA organic label is backed by standards that have integrity and garner the public’s trust. In this spirit, Beyond Pesticides participates in the NOSB review/recommendation process and USDA rulemaking through public comments. [Note: Beyond Pesticides has served on the NOSB for a five-year term (2010-2015) and urges other environmental organization representatives to consider self-nominating for service on the board.] The issues relating to clear standards for mushrooms and pet food have been before the NOSB and in discussion for some time as a part of ongoing efforts to ensure continuous improvement of standards governing the organic sector. While virtually all in the organic community and industry agree that the USDA proposals are needed and long overdue, Beyond Pesticides points to problems in the proposed rule that need correcting: (i) Re. […]

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24
Apr

EPA Draft Herbicide Strategy Update Further Weakens Plan to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2024) On April 16, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an “update” to the Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework (Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides) that was released last summer, weakening aspects of the agency’s efforts to “protect” endangered species from herbicide use. The update outlines three types of modifications to the Draft Strategy, including “simplifying” its approach, increasing growers’ “flexibility” when applying mitigation measures, and reducing the mitigation measures required in certain situations. By reducing the stringency of the Strategy, advocates are again questioning EPA’s commitment to fulfilling legal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or protecting endangered species and their habitats in the midst of an unprecedented rate of global extinction. ESA is celebrated as one of the most far-reaching conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of those species the government targets for protection, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with relevant agencies […]

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17
Apr

“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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11
Apr

Chemical-Intensive Practices in Florida Citrus Lead to Harm and Collapse, as Organic Methods Offer Path Forward

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2024) Scientists are moving forward in testing an agroecological method of “push-pull” pest management (reducing the attractiveness of the target organism and luring pest insects towards a trap) to fight the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in Florida orange groves, as it spreads a plant disease known as the pathogenic bacteria huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, which is deadly to citrus trees. The disease is spread by the pathogenic bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas).  The chemical-intensive, or conventional, citrus industry is under intense pressure to find alternatives, as synthetic antibiotic use for this purpose has been successfully challenged in court. ACP is the carrier, or vector, for HLB, spreading it through the citrus groves and killing the trees. The chemical-intensive industry has focused on using antibiotics, which the environmental and public health community has rejected because of serious medical concerns associated with life-threatening bacterial resistance to antibiotics used to protect humans. A federal district court decision in December 2023 found illegal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to register the antibiotic streptomycin in Florida citrus without adequate review of its impact on endangered species. The streptomycin lawsuit, filed in 2021 by a coalition of […]

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09
Apr

Industry Stops PFAS Restrictions, Reverses EPA in Court, as Plastic Leaches Contaminants

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2024) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Circuit Judge Cory T. Wilson, has vacated an action by the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency (EPA) that had ordered the Texas-based manufacturer Inhance Technologies, L.L.C. to stop producing plastic containers that leach toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into pesticides, household cleaners, condiments, and additional products. EPA has taken action after the agency determined that the PFAS created during the fluorination process “are highly toxic and present unreasonable risks that cannot be prevented other than through prohibition of manufacture.” While the court is not challenging EPA’s authority to determine the hazards associated with PFAS exposure to be unacceptable, on a technicality, it is finding that the agency used the wrong section of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Section 5, which the court says is focused on new uses. According to the Court, “The EPA is just not allowed to skirt the framework set by Congress by arbitrarily deeming Inhance’s decades-old fluorination process a “significant new use,” even though EPA’s awareness of the PFAS contamination was “new” to the agency and not disclosed by the manufacturer. Even if EPA were […]

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18
Mar

Getting Toxics Out of Food Production and Communities Requires Strong Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2024) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT on April 3, 2024. Organic standard setting provides for democratic input, full transparency, and continuous improvement. The current public comment period is an important opportunity for the public to engage with the organic rulemaking process to ensure that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA National Organic Program uphold the values and principles set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). With the threats to health, biodiversity, and climate associated with petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management, advocates stress that this is critical time to keep organic strong and continually improving. Organic maintains a unique place in the food system because of its high standards, public input, inspection system, and enforcement mechanism. But, organic will only grow stronger if the public participates in voicing positions on key issues to the NOSB, a stakeholder advisory board. Beyond Pesticides has identified key issues for the upcoming NOSB meeting below! The NOSB is receiving written comments from the public on key issues through April 3, 2024. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 23 and 25 and the deliberative hearing on April 29 through […]

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14
Mar

Petrochemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Plastics Linked to Dire Health Effects while Alternatives Are Available

 (Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2024)  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlights the urgent need to address the widespread chemical pollution stemming from the petrochemical industry, underscoring the dire implications for public health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, author and professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), emphatically states in an email comment to Beyond Pesticides, “We need to recognize the very real harm that petrochemicals are having on people’s health. Many of these fossil-fuel-based chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormonal systems, and they are part of the disturbing rise in disease.” Beyond Pesticides echoes this concern, noting that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include many pesticides and are linked to a plethora of health issues such as infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.  (See Beyond Pesticides’ Disease database here and news coverage here). The review further calls on the clinical community to advocate for policy changes aimed at mitigating the health threats posed by petrochemical-derived EDCs and climate change. Beyond Pesticides urgently calls for the elimination of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and advocates for a systemic […]

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11
Dec

USDA Supports Expansion of “Organic” Hydroponically-Grown Food, Threatening Real Organic

Update: This Daily News is updated to address the organic status of the company cited in the piece, Merchant’s Garden. The article now indicates that the company is certified as organic under a different name (Merchant’s Garden Agrotech) than the name used in the USDA press release.  As a result, their name did not appear in USDA’s Organic Integrity Database (OID) at the time of the original Daily News and Action of the Week posting. USDA updated OID on December 8, 2023, the same day that it received a complaint on this matter from former National Organic Standard Board chair Jim Riddle. The critical focus of the piece remains the same: It is not disclosed to consumers on food products labeled “organic” when that food or ingredients are grown hydroponically. Beyond Pesticides, as indicated in the article, views hydroponic as a conventional growing practice that does not meet the spirit and intent of the organic system, as defined in the Organic Foods Production Act.  (Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2023) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on November 27, 2023 funding that appears to be supporting the expansion of “organic” hydroponic, an approach to food production that has […]

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08
Dec

Pesticides Used in Production of Baby Food Ingredients Raise Alarm. . . Again

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2023) Nine pesticides have been found in nearly 40% of nonorganic conventional baby foods tested, according to a study conducted by Environmental Working Group (EWG). The study found no residues of the pesticides studied in a sample of certified organic baby food. While the study finds no traces of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, associated with brain damage in children, the chemical has been allowed back on the agricultural market after being removed in 2021—raising an alarm for parents who purchase baby food with ingredients grown in chemical-intensive (“conventional”) agriculture. In November 2023, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2021 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to ban chlorpyrifos’ agricultural uses, which came after a 2021 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision found that the agency’s inaction violated federal pesticide law. Because of its neurotoxic effects on children, EPA had in 2000 negotiated Dow Chemical’s voluntary cancellation of most residential uses of the chemical, but left virtually all of the chemical’s agricultural uses in place. While the EWG study focuses on pesticide residues in food and the hazards associated with ingestion of dangerous chemicals, raising alarms, purchasing baby food processed with nonorganic […]

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25
Sep

Take Action: Organic Integrity on the Agenda of Upcoming USDA Meeting

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2023) It happens twice a year. The transparent process of a stakeholder board of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, a scientist, retailer, and certifier get together as members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and vote on allowable materials and standards in organic agriculture. This Congressionally mandated board has authorities not often given to people outside of government—authorities to determine what should be allowed in organic food production, under assessments of synthetic and natural substances. And the underlying law that makes this happen, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture may not allow synthetic and prohibited natural materials unless they are recommended by the NOSB. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public, which must be submitted by September 28, 2023. The values and principles embedded in OFPA far exceed the standards of health and environmental protection of any other health and environmental laws, which establish risk mitigation measures to determine allowable harm, under a set of guiding standards that require the board to (i) protect health (from production of inputs to their disposal), (ii) ensure compatibility with organic systems (with determinations that inputs do not hurt […]

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03
Aug

Reflections: “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world. Life in plastic is [NOT] fantastic”

It’s hard to escape the impacts of the Barbie movie’s estimated $150 million marketing campaign. You may have noticed advertisements with Burger King’s pink burgers to Airbnb’s Barbie Dreamhouse. Perhaps you have seen viral memes or news stories about the movie’s takedown of the patriarchy or critiques that the movie is overly woke. The pink symbol of Barbie is often followed by a second symbol — plastic. The total mass of plastics on Earth now doubles the total mass of all living mammals, so would Barbie say life is fantastic? Or, might she urge the National Organic Standards Board to ban plastic mulch, an issue on the agenda at the Board’s upcoming October meeting? Plastic products, including those used in chemical-intensive and organic agriculture, and pesticides, play a seemingly necessary role in modern life, encompassing many items beyond straws and grocery bags. However, the convenience of plastic comes at a considerable cost to the planet and human health. The majority of plastics are manufactured using oil and gas, exacerbating climate change. Scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed by the repercussions of microplastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm in size. In 2022, Philip Landrigan, M.D., et al., announced the […]

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24
Apr

Call for Farm Bill with Organic, Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals, and Native Ecosystem Support

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2023) It is well-known that trees and other plants help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in their wood and roots—especially when they are allowed to grow continuously. However, plants help in other ways as well.  Plants—especially trees—also moderate the climate through their participation in the water cycle. And when the weather is hot and dry, they hold the soil, preventing dust bowl conditions. In the 1930’s, the U.S. Forest Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, together with local farmers, planted more than 220 million trees, developing 18,000 miles of windbreaks on the Great Plains. Unfortunately, those windbreaks are now endangered by the same economic impetus that helped create the Dust Bowl—making more room for economically valuable crops.  Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to address climate change in the Farm Bill by incorporating a large-scale, national transition to certified organic agriculture and restoration and resilience strategies that prohibit the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.    Organic farming helps resist climate change in several ways. Regenerative organic farming sequesters carbon in the soil. Organic […]

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07
Feb

Pesticide Reform Bill Reintroduced in U.S. Senate, Advocates Call Changes Major But Not Systemic Ones Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2023) U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced legislation last week to increase protections against exposure to toxic pesticides. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, addresses many of the controversial issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. This major reform legislation tackles some of the documented deficiencies in the regulation of pesticides and removes a number of loopholes in the law. The legislation, introduced with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), also includes a ban on all organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides, as well as  the weed killer paraquat, which is known to cause Parkinson’s disease and lung fibrosis. Despite these reform provisions, the legislation does not touch the core of FIFRA’s pesticide registration process and chart a path for the systemic, transformative change that Beyond Pesticides says is essential to meet the existential challenges of current times—devastating health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. FIFRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the agriculture committees of Congress, has long been criticized for failing to protect the public and workers […]

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23
Sep

Last Chance This Fall to Tell the NOSB To Uphold Organic Integrity 

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23-26, 2022) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT September 29.  The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing October 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up to speak at the webinar by September 29. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. Links to the virtual comment webinars and the public meeting will be posted on this webpage in early October. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and the Fall 2022 issues page. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. Here are some high priority issues for us: > The NOSB must take a precautionary approach in view of the unknown. Peroxylactic acid (POLA) is petitioned as an antimicrobial agent to be used in processing meat. While a comprehensive review of the needs for sanitizers and disinfectants in organic processing may reveal a need for additional materials, the existing data concerning POLA […]

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12
Sep

Organic Integrity Before the Public, Comments Due By September 29

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2022) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing October 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up to speak at the webinar by September 29. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. Links to the virtual comment webinars and the public meeting will be posted on this webpage in early October. The NOSB is responsible for guiding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health The NOSB plays an important role in bringing the views of organic producers and consumers to bear on USDA, which is not always in sync with organic principles. There are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and […]

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29
Jul

With Industry Support, a Republican U.S. Senator Introduces Bill to Codify Easier Access to Ag Pesticides–As If It Wasn’t Easy Enough

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2022) Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate carbon emissions, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas (R) has filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to limit the agency’s ability to regulate pesticide use. The so-called EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act of 2022 is touted, on Senator Marshall’s website, as “a comprehensive bill to prevent . . . EPA . . . from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon.” In truth — and perversely, given that he is a medical doctor — the bill aims to provide more license to use toxic pesticides that harm human health, the environment broadly, and ecosystems already under assault from toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, habitat destruction, and climate change. Couched in language about “feeding the world,” the bill’s central concern seems to be financial impacts or challenges that farms (a good portion of which, let us remember, are giant, well-resourced agribusinesses) may face because of EPA pesticide regulations. Those regulations, of course, are promulgated by the agency to protect people, organisms, ecosystems, and natural resources from harmful impacts and risks […]

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15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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28
Mar

Public Voice Keeps Organic Strong, Comment by April 1

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2022) Last Chance This Spring To Tell the NOSB To Uphold Organic Integrity. Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT April 1 (No Fooling!) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 1. April 1 is also the deadline for registering for the upcoming public comment webinar on April 19 and 21, which precedes the online meeting April 26-28—in which the NOSB deliberates on issues concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. As always, there are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong (KOS) and the Spring 2022 issues page, where you can find Beyond Pesticides’ comments on all issues facing the NOSB at this meeting. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page or use language below) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. Here are some high priority issues for us: The NOSB must insist that the National Organic Program (NOP), which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) follow through with NOSB recommendations. […]

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06
Jul

Are Big Dairies Undercutting Organic Milk Producers and Organic Integrity—and What Can We Do About It?

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2021) ACT NOW: Public Comment Period Ends July 12, 11:59pm (eastern). A new proposed rule on the “origin of livestock” is intended to undo nearly two decades of regulatory failure by the USDA. Organic dairy producers have suffered economic harm and many organic milk consumers have been drinking substandard milk, while the National Organic Program (NOP) failed to promulgate a Final Rule on the issue of transitioning non-organically certified dairy bovine animals to organic production. The public comment period on this rule closes on July 12, 2021 at 11:59pm (eastern). We all have a stake in growing the organic marketplace by supporting the transition from conventional chemical-intensive practices to clearly defined sustainable and regenerative practices that support family farmers and a production system that confronts the climate crisis, biodiversity decline, and rising public health threats. We do this by supporting transition and then continually improving standards to ensure a robust and healthful organic sector. The issues challenging organic dairy production are a part of the continuous efforts of Beyond Pesticides to ensure organic integrity, while growing the organic market. Tell NOP to adopt an origin of livestock rule that protects dairy farmers and consumers.  When the […]

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13
Jul

Take Action: Demand to Keep the Soil in Organic, Reject the Labeling of Hydroponic Crops as Organic!

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2020) Soil is central to organic production. Therefore, hydroponic operations should not be considered eligible for organic certification, and the National Organic Program (NOP) must take a clear position in opposition to hydroponics and other non-soil-based methods in organic production, including containers. Organic farmers and consumers strongly agree that organic production must be soil-based.  Tell NOP hydroponics is not organic! Educate your congressional representatives and senators. NOP authorizes the certification of hydroponic operations as organic. This undermines the authenticity of organic farming and creates unequal competition, market instability, and consumer distrust in organic certification. Organic farming and soil are inextricably linked. The microorganisms in healthy soils interact in a symbiotic manner with plant roots, strengthening the plant, enabling it to resist diseases and facilitating water and mineral uptake. The essence of organic production is maintaining and enhancing the organic matter content of soil by relying on environmentally beneficial methods such as green manure, crop rotation, and biological pest management. On March 3, 2020, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit challenging the USDA’s decision to allow hydroponics operations to be certified organic. Organic farmers and consumers believe that the organic label means two things: […]

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19
May

California Proposes “Comparable-to-Organic” Marijuana Certification

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2020) The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is taking public comments on a proposal to establish statewide comparable-to-organic standards for cannabis production. Although cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and thus cannot be labeled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic seal, there is no prohibition on a state-specific program that follows federal organic requirements, but does not use the word “organic.” While such a program has the potential to provide another level of protection for medical patients, questions and concerns remain over the allowance of certain products, and the impact the certifying scheme may have on the future trajectory of the cannabis production industry. Under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act, passed in 2017 after the success of Proposition 64 by California voters, state agencies were tasked with establishing a state-level program to certify cannabis to the standards set out by USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). CDFA is required to finalize this program for cannabis production by the start of 2021, while the California Department of Public Health will create a separate program to certify manufactured cannabis products. As outlined by CFDA, cannabis would be certified through third-party […]

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