Organic Consumers Association

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Bill Proposes Tougher Enforcement for Organic Label

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's USDA Watch page, All About Organics page, and our Safeguard Organic Standards page.

A bill that would put some teeth into federal organic food law was introduced Tuesday by a bipartisan pair of representatives from opposite sides of the country.

Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), introduced the legislative to ensure that products carrying the USDA's organic seal comply with the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act.

Their newly proposed Organic Standards Protection Act contains the following provisions:

- Grants USDA the authority to stop the sale of products fraudulently labeled and sold as certified organic while protecting the rights of producers and handlers during the appeals process.

- Streamlines recordkeeping requirements by mandating that all  organic producers and certifiers to maintain and provide records to the USDA to improve its investigative process and enforcement efforts.

- Grants USDA the power to impose civil penalties up to $10,000 for those who violate the USDA revocation of an organic certification.

The California Certified Organic Farmers, the Organic Trade Association, and the National Organic Coalition support the legislation.

According to a report by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the U.S. organic market in 2011 surpassed $31 billion for the first time, representing 9.5 percent growth. The organic food industry also generated more than 500,000 American jobs in 2010.  
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