Organic Industry Calls for Federal Policies to Strengthen Integrity of Organic Seal
The organic industry, led by the Organic Trade Association, has called for federal policies to ensure “organic” always means “organic”.
Organic production in the U.S. is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) (Public Law 101-624, Nov. 28, 1990). The national standards developed by the NOP for organically-produced agricultural products are designed to assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards.
Yesterday, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) issued a press release calling for federal policies to strengthen the integrity of the organic seal for all products branded as organic. The OTA specifically noted that while consumer trust in organic foods is high, the same is not true for non-food products such as household cleaners or personal care products. This press release came in advance of a joint Federal Trade Commission (FTC)/USDA roundtable being held today regarding consumer perception of organic claims for non-food products. A main goal of today’s roundtable is to discuss whether the FTC needs to issue further guidance to makers of non-food products that use the organic claim or term without reference to the USDA Organic seal, whether they refer to another organic certification program or no certification at all.
It remains to be seen whether and to what extent industry’s efforts to strengthen consumer trust of “organic” will result in the FTC exercising its consumer protection authority regarding organic claims on products that fall outside of USDA’s purview.