Industry groups are celebrating the release of the new organic rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Development of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule (SOE) has been a lengthy process undertaken by USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). The final rule is reported to establish additional requirements to help strengthen the integrity of the organic supply chain.
“Protecting and growing the organic sector and the trusted USDA organic seal is a key part of the USDA Food Systems Transformation initiative,” Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in a statement. “The Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule is the biggest update to the organic regulations since the original Act in 1990, providing a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to reinforce the trust of consumers, farmers, and those transitioning to organic production.”
Groups including the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) and Organic Trade Association (OTA) welcomed the recent announcement of new organic rules. Industry organizations have been anxiously awaiting the SOE release for months. OTA noted the regulation will have significant impacts and help to combat fraud within the organic sector. The rule will become effective on March 20, 2023, with an implementation date of March 19, 2024. NOP has developed a fact sheet on the final rule and industry groups will be working to provide informational resources in the coming months.
“Organic fresh produce is highly valued by many consumers, and we hope this new rule allows for continued growth of the organic fresh produce industry while maintaining consumer trust in the USDA organic seal,” VP of Regulatory Compliance & Global Food Safety Standards for IFPA, Emily Griep said in a press release. “IFPA is committed to working with the USDA NOP to help our members understand and comply with the requirements of the final rule, particularly organic produce importers who will be most impacted by the rule.”