New USDA rule boosts “organic” food oversight, targets fraud

Jan 18, 2023, 11:33 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 1:42 pm
FILE - Vegetables are displayed in a produce section at a supermarket in New York, Monday, May 17, ...

FILE - Vegetables are displayed in a produce section at a supermarket in New York, Monday, May 17, 2021. On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, the U.S. Agriculture Department issued new requirements for foods labeled as “organic,” a move aimed at cracking down on fraud and boosting oversight of products increasingly sought by consumers seeking healthy and environmentally sustainable options. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Agriculture Department on Thursday issued new requirements for foods labeled organic, a move aimed at cracking down on fraud and boosting oversight.

The rule strengthens enforcement of the USDA’s strict definitions of organic, which must rely on “natural substances and physical, mechanical or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”

The rule requires USDA’s National Organic Program certification for all imported organic food, increases certifications of more businesses in the supply chain and boosts authority for inspections, record-keeping, traceability and fraud prevention practices.

The Organic Trade Association, which lobbied for rule, said it represents the biggest change to organic regulations since the creation of the USDA organic food program.

OTA officials said in a statement the regulation “will do much to deter and detect organic fraud and protect organic integrity throughout the supply chain.”

Sales of organic foods in the U.S. topped $63 billion in 2021, according to OTA, with consumers willing to pay top dollar for products free of pesticides and other contaminants.

Fresh produce, grains and other foods are vulnerable to fraud. This month, Department of Justice officials issued indictments in a multimillion-dollar scheme to export non-organic grain to the U.S., to be sold as a certified organic product.

The new rule takes effect in March and companies will have a year to comply with the requirements.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
14 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
14 hours ago
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Washington County, Md., Sheriff's Office, May 28, 2020, s...
Associated Press

Former college student pleads guilty to deadly sword attack

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former University of Connecticut student pleaded guilty to murder and other charges Wednesday for killing a man and severely wounding another with a sword in 2020 — one of two deadly attacks that led to a six-day manhunt in several states that ended with his capture in Maryland. Peter Manfredonia, […]
2 days ago
FILE - A display of the fentanyl and meth that was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection off...
Associated Press

Biden’s fentanyl position sparks criticism from 2 sides

President Joe Biden’s calls in his State of the Union speech for strong criminal penalties in response to soaring deaths linked to the potent opioid fentanyl are being rebuked by harm reduction advocates who say that approach could make the problem worse, even as some in Congress jeered the comments and blamed the Democrat’s border […]
2 days ago
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, guests watch a show near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse...
Associated Press

Disney’s 1Q results fueled by growth at its theme parks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Co.’s latest quarterly results topped Wall Street’s forecasts, as solid growth at the entertainment giant’s theme parks helped offset tepid performance in its video streaming and movie business. Disney said Wednesday that it earned $1.28 million, or 70 cents per share, in the three months through Dec. 31. […]
2 days ago
Judge Gary Hill waves after lawmakers voted to make him the next state Supreme Court justice on Wed...
Associated Press

South Carolina becomes only state with all-male high court

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina on Wednesday became the nation’s only state without a woman on its Supreme Court — a development that comes amid increasing Republican scrutiny of the court that narrowly struck down the conservative state’s abortion ban last month. The Republican-led Legislature chose Judge Gary Hill to replace the high court’s […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
New USDA rule boosts “organic” food oversight, targets fraud