Organic Integrity Lawsuit Goes Forward

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture won a temporary victory on September 8 when a federal judge denied a USDA request to dismiss their case.  Here’s a summary of the Sacramento district court ruling: http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/09/09/usda-cant-slide-on-organic-food-rules.htm. The plaintiffs argue that in 2013 the government significantly changed the Organic Foods Production Act, without public notice or input, when it reinterpreted the “sunset” provision for allowed synthetics and nonorganic materials.  The law as originally written requires that these nonorganic materials be approved for continued use in organic production by a two-thirds vote of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) every five years.  The USDA peremptorily changed this procedure to eliminate the automatic expiration or “sunset” and instead require a two-thirds vote of the 15-person board in order to remove items from the approved list.  Participants in the suit, which will go forward, include Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, and others.

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