Manufacturers must meet strict criteria to make organic claim on packaging

US cracks down on ‘organic’ food con: Manufacturers now need to meet strict criteria to make claim on labels — after it was abused to draw in eco-friendly shoppers

  • All imports from abroad must adhere to the USDA’s standards to be organic
  • Previously only imports from the EU and Japan were rigorously checked
  • Farmers planned to pass off millions of dollars’ worth of crops as organic

US food officials are toughening up on manufacturers who claim their products are organic.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has tightened the definition of organic, meaning makers will now need to meet much stricter criteria to do with manufacturing and animal welfare in order to put the health claim on their label.

Officials said that the previous definition, originally enforced in 2002, was being abused by companies taking advantage of consumers who were trying to be more health and eco-conscious in what they were eating.

It comes after the Biden administration proposed that all food and drink sold in stores carries a color-coded or star rating system showing their nutritional information.

The updated guidelines rules come into play in March, and food companies have a year to ensure they comply

The updated guidelines rules come into play in March, and food companies have a year to ensure they comply

The USDA has strict criteria manufacturers must meet if they want to reap the benefits of having a ‘certified organic’ label on their produce.

Meat where the animals have not been able to graze on pasture nor fed organic feed and forage, organically processed foods containing artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and food which is grown or handled using genetically modified organisms are all disallowed.

Thee USDA’s new guidelines hope to close loopholes which allowed ingredients not meeting the organic criteria to creep into the supply chain.

Federal standards require products labeled organic to be made without toxic and long-lasting pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics and made-man hormones.

Processes such as genetic engineering, sewage sludge and exposing products to radiation are also prohibited.

As the organic food industry has grown, food producers were getting around the organic requirements by sourcing ingredients from overseas, where it is harder to known if they are meeting the US’ standards.

Now, food companies have to make sure more of their business supply chain upholds the criteria, including their brokers and traders.

The rules come into play in March, and companies have a year to ensure they comply.

All organic imports must now come with a NOP Import Certificate, which ensures the products meet USDA standards and was previously only required for imports from the EU and Japan.

Organic identification is also required on products sold business-to-business before they reach the consumer.

Certificates of organic operation are also being standardized, and companies will have to submit more data on how their organic food is produced, and do it more often.

Companies were able to charge more for organic products. The higher price people are willing to pay for organic food was so lucrative that some producers deliberately tried to fool customers.

Just this week, two farmers from Minnesota were charged for their alleged intentions to pass off more than $46 million’s worth of chemically treated crops as organic between 2014 and 2021.


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