NYTimes 1/15/99 USDA Approves Temporary Labeling of Certified
Ronnie Cummins (email@example.com)
Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:57:18 -0800
>U.S. to Allow Organic Label on Some Meats and Poultry
> By MARIAN BURROS New York Times 1/15/99
> WASHINGTON -- The Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it
>allow farmers who raise meat and poultry without pesticide-treated feed,
>growth hormones or antibiotics to label their meat "certified organic."
> That meat will be the only organic food with a certification process
>approved by the Federal Government. State regulations for years have allowed
>organic labels on many other foods, but meat and poultry have always been
>different category, subject to more stringent Federal labeling regulations.
> The Federal rules go into effect immediately, and need no legislative
>approval. They are welcomed by companies that produce organic meat, who have
>been frustrated in attempts to market a premium product. Many foods labeled
>organic sell for 10 percent to 50 percent above the price of similar
> For decades, the Agriculture Department treated the organic food
>if it did not exist. But as sales grew more than 20 percent a year through
>1990's, organic food came to account for $1 of every $100 spent on food, and
>in 1997 the agency took notice, proposing national organic standards for all
> The proposal met with stiff resistance from more than 275,000 people who
>said they opposed the Federal standards because they would lower the state
>standards already in place. In an unusual move the agency withdrew the
> An Agriculture Department spokesman described the new meat and poultry
>policy as "an interim step," until national standards exist, which may come
> "This is a boon for small companies like us," said Allen Shainsky, owner of
>Petaluma Poultry Processors in Petaluma, Calif.
> Shainsky's company sells around 120,000 birds per week, and he said he
>to be selling 15,000 organic birds a week within a few months.
> Allen Moody, a feed coordinator for the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool,
>or Cropp, in LaFarge, Wis., which sells its products under the Organic Valley
>label, said: "This means a lot to us. We have not been able to get full value
>out of our beef cattle, our dairy cattle."
> "In terms of going out with a national marketing program, it has been
>impossible, and we have not been able to realize the true value of our animal
>production," Moody said. "It has held the livestock industry back."
> Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said he hoped Thursday's announcement
>would also help the meat industry, particularly hog farmers who have seen
>prices for pork as low as 9 cents a pound. The current price is 28 cents a
>pound for live hogs, compared with 35 cents last year.
> Ultimately, Moody said, there is more profit in organic meat than in
>conventional meat. He said he expected to sell organic pork for 60 to 70
> The Agriculture Department will rely on state and industry certifiers as it
>allows producers to use the organic label. Those standards require
>certification that the meat and poultry are raised on organic feed, without
>the use of antibiotics or growth hormones, that they have access to the
>outside and that there is a manure management plan. If an animal becomes ill
>and must be given antibiotics it can no longer be sold as organic.
> "I think this announcement is a sign that organic is one of the Secretary's
>top priorities," said Katherine DeMatteo, executive director of the Organic
>Trade Association in Greenfield, Mass., "that he is serious about working out
>details of the final rule for national organic standards. The Secretary has
>seen that this will create new opportunities to help small farmers."
> Glickman acted after a letter-writing campaign in the fall from small meat
>and poultry producers.
> Opposition from the national beef industry was quite mild. Alisa
>spokeswoman for the National Cattlemen's Association, said the association
>"generally supportive of niche marketing and giving consumers a choice."
> Our only concern, Ms. Harrison said, "is that consumers understand that
>products labeled organic are not safer than products that are not labeled
>Friday, January 15, 1999
><A HREF="aol://4344:104.nytcopy.6445375.574106743">Copyright 1999 The New
Campaign for Food Safety/Organic Consumers Action
860 Hwy 61
Little Marais, Mn. 55614
To subscribe to the free electronic newsletter, Food Bytes, send an email to:
with the simple message:
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: