For the first time since the federal Organic Rule went into effect in October 2002, the USDA is moving to revoke the license of a certifier. American Food Safety Institute International in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin alledgedly allowed an organic farm to use banned chemicals and broke several other federal regulations.
Organic certifiers are responsible for ensuring that organic farmers and food producers follow a host of rules, which include not using chemical bug and weed killers. Certifiers are supposed to forward records about organic rule breakers to the USDA.
Jim Riddle, a former appointed adviser to the USDA when the organic rules were enacted four years ago, has criticized the agency for not cracking down on rule breakers.
He said Thursday that he was pleased that the USDA is planning to take action.
“It sends confidence in the program that they’re willing to enforce the law and protect the integrity of the organic claim,” he said. “That’s why we wanted the law in the first place, to protect the claim and minimize and prevent these types of bad actors from taking advantage of the organic market.”
Source: Dallas News