USDA Publishes Final
Organic Rule After Harvey v. Johanns
(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2006) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will publish a final rule in the Federal Register today that revises the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations to comply with the final court order in the Harvey v. Johanns lawsuit and implement the 2005 amendments to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).
The final rule restores the National List of synthetics used in products labeled as "organic" to the pre-lawsuit status made by the 2005 amendments to the Act. The final rule clarifies that non-organic agricultural materials may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" only when such organic products are not commercially available.
Additionally, the final rule revises the NOP regulations to clarify that non-organically produced products listed in section 205.606 of the regulations may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” only when such organic products are not commercially available. The effective date of this final rule revision for section 205.606 is June 9, 2007.
The final rule, as expected, eliminates the "80/20" provision, which means that transitioning dairy producers will no longer be able to use 20 percent non-organic feed during the first nine months of whole herd conversion from conventional to organic production. After June 9, 2007, no milk may be labeled as organic and enter the stream of commerce as a result of the 80/20 feed provision. The final rule further addresses dairy herd conversion by allowing crops and forage from land, included in the organic dairy system plan, of a dairy farm that is in its third year of organic management to be fed to the converting animals.
USDA also mentioned there will be further rulemaking to come concerning dairy animal replacements.
To read the final rule and read multiple effective dates, see the final rule on USDA's website.