The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released for public comment a proposed rule to establish science-based standards for growing, harvesting, packing and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms. The proposed rule for preventive controls for human food is being published at the same time. These are two of the proposed rules that are key to the preventive food safety approach established by FDA’s 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA will soon issue its proposed rule on foreign supplier verification. Future proposed rules will address preventive controls for animal food, and accreditation of third-party auditors for imported food.
Happy New Year! As it reflects on its 2012 accomplishments, the National Organic Program (NOP) is looking ahead to a productive 2013. The NOP would also like to highlight the Organic Seed Finder, a database launched by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).
The first genetically engineered salmon - dubbed "frankenfish" - could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies' GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply. Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered "frankenfish" for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA's Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon "flawed and inadequate." Please sign the petition (at the bottom of the page) if you agree that the FDA should reject should AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon, at least until it completes further, more reliable safety testing.
According to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), over 400 registered green logos exist worldwide. Most consumers say they are more likely to buy products with green seals, says NMI, and there are good reasons why. Certifications help a product standout in saturated markets. Seals that consumers trust show the product maker is responsible and cares about the same issues that are important to shoppers, be it kosher, fair trade or humanely raised animals. Organizations that offer reputable seals have staff available to walk you through gaining their specific certification, which may include label review, traceability, facility visits and more. Often, the process isn’t as intimidating or as costly as one may think.
The new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) addresses the state of U.S. agriculture research. The report notes that public funding for agricultural research has stagnated, while industry sources have increased greatly to 61 percent of the total—three times the amount from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Oregon Tilth is pleased to announce that there are no increases in general certification fees for 2013. We have made adjustments to certain parts of the Fee Schedule in order to solidify some new services we are building. These changes will be effective Feb 1, 2013.
Due to Congressional inaction, the 2008 Farm Bill has expired without a new bill or extension to take its place. In the absence of a farm bill, numerous innovative programs that invest in sustainable agriculture systems are shut down and left without funding. This post is the final post in our 10-week blog series that has featured both program facts and stories from the field of those farmers and communities impacted by expired farm bill programs.
A report on testing and analysis of pork chops and ground-pork samples from six U.S. cities has revealed high rates of a bacterium that can cause food poisoning , especially in children, and bacteria resistant to medically important antibiotics, according to Consumer Reports.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce a new fact sheet describing the oversight, labeling, and trade of organic wine. Like all organic products, organic wine must meet all USDA organic requirements. Organic alcoholic beverages must also meet Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations.
Growth, it is what we do every day whether we realize it or not. The Organic Education Center grew this year in more ways than one. Below is a summary of some of our key accomplishments. All of the below were made possible through our dynamic team of educators, gracious volunteers and our gardener and program assistant plus two cats! Thank you.
To describe the relevant organic requirements, provide best practices, and further explain the certification process, the NOP and the NCAT have provided detailed guides about organic production and certification.
Meet Oregon Tilth's Board of Directors candidates and read their statements. Board candidates include Chris Bradway, Chuck Burr, Miguel Guerrero, John E. Haapala Jr., Harry MacCormack, and Susan Schechter
The Board of Oregon Tilth has recently created a new Advisory Committee in response to requests from the two Oregon Tilth founders, Harry MacCormack and Lynn Coody. The purpose of the committee is to encourage advice, suggestions and feedback directly from the membership to the board, and to encourage broad membership participation and collaboration within Oregon Tilth’s organizational structure.
On November 21, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., announced that it would hear the Appeal of Dismissal in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto at 10am on Thursday, January 10, 2013. The landmark organic community lawsuit was originally filed in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, in March 2011.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is pleased to announce an updated fact sheet describing its oversight of organic products. Additionally, the NOP has posted new certifying agents' corrective action reports along with their accreditation certificates.
The organic dairy sector provides more economic opportunity and generates more jobs in rural communities than conventional dairies, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The first-of-its-kind study, “Cream of the Crop: The Economic Benefits of Organic Dairy Farms,” calculated the economic value of organic milk production.
Did you know that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, EPA and many other federal agencies have resources to support local food systems? That's why USDA has just expanded our Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass!
Transcripts and committee recommendations from the most recent National Organic Standards Board meeting (October 2012, Providence, RI) are available on the NOSB Meetings webpage.
Beginning January 1, 2013, organic certifying agents must test samples from at least 5 percent of the operations they certify on an annual basis. While testing has always been a part of organic product oversight and is required by the Organic Foods Production Act, today's action specifies the minimum amount of testing that must occur. This additional testing will help certifying agents identify and take enforcement action against farms and businesses intentionally using prohibited substances or methods.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is providing additional drought relief to organic ruminant livestock producers. The NOP is also pleased to announce fourteen grants supporting research and marketing of organic agriculture.