Date: Feb 01, 2002
The final rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding
organic foods goes into effect later this month. It establishes new standards for organic
food products and defines how and when foods may be represented on the package and in
marketing materials as "organic" in the U.S. Full implementation is expected
over the next year and a half.
This rule identifies four categories of products that may be represented as organic
or containing organic ingredients:
Possible consumer misperception?
In response to concerns from some food processors that consumers may believe
"organic" food to be safer or more nutritious than conventional food, USDA has
redesigned and simplified the USDA organic seal that may be displayed on certified organic
products. USDA has emphasized that the organic rule is simply a marketing standard and
that is not intended to address food safety concerns or convey a message of superiority.
Nonetheless, certain segments of the food processing industry remain concerned that
consumers will view "organic" food as having a USDA stamp of approval and
Finally, as expected, the rule prohibits the use of products of biotechnology, ionizing
radiation and sewage sludge in the production of organic products. The prohibitions on
biotechnology and ionizing radiation have been criticized as being without scientific
justification, but USDA has taken the position that consumers do not expect organic foods
to be produced with the use of such technologies.
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For further information about this article, please contact George G. Misko at 202-434-4170 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.