Greenfield, Massachesutts (April 12, 2003)-The organic industry and consumers
choosing organic products can celebrate now that Congress has repealed a
rider contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill that weakened organic
livestock feeding requirements.
“Congress has done the right thing to repeal Section 771. The organic
industry and consumers can breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice that this
issue has been put to bed in a timely fashion. It truly was a bad egg, but
legislators now have disposed of it,” said Katherine DiMatteo, executive
director of the Organic Trade Association, the business association for the
North American organic industry.
She added, “We truly hope legislators have learned that we will not stand by
when anyone tries to undermine organic standards by resorting to backroom
The Supplemental Appropriations Bill approved today by both the House of
Representatives and Senate included an amendment repealing the offending
language that, in effect, allowed organic livestock producers to feed their
animals less than 100 percent organic feed and still market the resulting
meat, dairy and poultry products as organic.
The quick action to repeal Section 771 came as a result of a major push by
key senators and representatives supportive of organic agriculture and
practices, as well as the Organic Trade Association, its members, associated
groups, and consumers.
“Thanks particularly to Senators Patrick Leahy and Olympia Snowe and
Representatives Sam Farr and Ron Kind in the House for sponsoring the repeal
bills, 71 Senators and 105 Representatives signed on as co-sponsors of bills
to repeal Section 771. Getting this response took a monumental effort by our
members, affiliated associations and groups, and consumers who barraged
their legislators and contacted the media with the message that Section 771
was a major mistake that had to be corrected immediately,” said DiMatteo.
She added, “This is a moment to celebrate. However, it proves once again
that we must remain vigilant to make sure consumers get what they want: that
products labeled as organic in the marketplace truly meet stringent
standards that are certified.”
Representing the $11 billion organic industry in North America, the Organic
Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association. Its
mission is to encourage global sustainability through promoting and
protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. OTA’s approximately 1,200
members include growers, shippers, retailers, processors, certifiers, farmer
associations, brokers, consultants and others. Learn more at the OTA
website: www.ota.com or its consumer website: www.theorganicreport.org.