This statement is another of the many myths about the USDA's proposed
rule. The proposal merely repeated the phrase that is in the law, which
is: "Any label, labeling or market information that implies directly or
indirectly that a product, including an ingredient, is organically produced
and handled may be used only for an agricultural product, including an
ingredient, that has been produced and handled in accordance with the
Act and the regulations in this part."
The preamble to this provision requested comments from the public
concerning what phrases might be construed to "imply directly or
indirectly" that a product was organic, and gave examples of terms
currently being used on products. There was no intent or implication that
everything on that list would be prohibited. The purpose of a request for
public comment is just that--we want to know what consumers find
misleading before putting it in a final regulation.
I find it ironic that the questions posed in the preamble in this case have
been construed as meaning that the examples were intended as the
actual regulation, whereas similar examples given in the preamble
concerning questions such as livestock confinement were ignored by
those accusing USDA of proposing to allow perpetual confinement of
The statement about USDA certification costing $2000 a year is
inaccurate--this figure in the proposed fee schedule related to the cost
of accreditation, while certifiers would continue to set their own fees.
USDA National Organic Program Staff
If I recall correctly, I was told that the USDA is trying to make it
illegal to call anything organic, natural, or free of various additives
like hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, etc, unless one gets certified by
the USDA, which would cost $2000 or so per year. Therefore private
certifiers would be illegal. My source is Juli Brussel of Illinois OCIA.
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