New, stricter USDA guidelines released in mid-January aim to cut down on organic fraud and bolster consumer confidence in the certified organic food label. The updates close loopholes that formerly allowed certain nonorganic ingredients to enter the organic supply chain. They also enact more stringent farm-to-market supply chain tracing and require organic certification of certain mid-supply chain agents. The move represents “the single largest revision to the organic standards since they were published in 1990,” said Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association. The revisions come at a time when the organic market is booming: sales of organic commodities, processed foods, and nonfood products surpassed $63 billion for the first time in 2021, and the organic market now represents almost 6 percent of the food sold in the US. While the new provisions go into effect this March, farms and suppliers will have until March 2024 to certify their compliance. Read more HERE.
USDA Cracks Down on Organic Fraud
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