Faso Introduces Bill to Crack-Down on Fake Organics, Support Organic Farmers

From the website of Congressman Faso: https://faso.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=582

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation, the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act.

Congressman Faso said, “Fraudulent ‘organic’ grain and feed originating overseas is not only deceptive to consumers, but it artificially drives down the price of real organics, hurting legitimate organic farmers in Upstate New York and across the country. I am proud to introduce the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act alongside Congresswoman Lujan Grisham as it will crack down on these fake organics. This is commonsense legislation that puts American consumers and farmers first.”

“Organic farming and ranching is the fastest growing segment of agriculture in New Mexico,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “However, fraudulent organic imports threaten the integrity of the USDA Organic label that so many New Mexicans rely on. The bipartisan Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act will provide the National Organic Program at USDA with the resources needed to update their tracking technology and the authority necessary to crack down on fraudulent organic imports for years to come.”

The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act provides for a modernization of organic import documentation, new technology advancements and stricter enforcement of organic products entering the US.

When fraudulent organic products enter the US, local producers are hurt by lower prices and our consumers are hurt by inauthentic products.

For full text of the legislation, click here.

Here are some remarks from farmers and industry leaders on the legislation:

Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO, Organic Trade Association: “Protecting the integrity of organic is critical for the advancement of organic, and we applaud Rep. Faso for introducing this important bill. Our farmers have to have a level playing field, and organic consumers have to be able to trust that they are getting what they pay for when they buy organic. We’re operating in a growing global market. It is essential that we modernize and get up to speed to prevent organic fraud and to ensure that every stakeholder in the organic chain is playing by the rules. This bill takes important steps towards making that happen.”

Tim Joseph, Founding Farmer, Maple Hill Creamery, LLC, Kinderhook, New York: “The foundation of Maple Hill Creamery, LLC is organic dairy and the integrity of the USDA Organic seal is vital to everything we do.  We fully support the bill and are grateful to Congressman John Faso for introducing this important legislation.”

George Siemon, CEO, Organic Valley, La Farge, Wisconsin: “Organic Valley commends Congressman Faso for sponsoring a solid piece of legislation. This bill will improve trade oversight in our global market by providing the funds to give USDA and certifiers the tools to better respond to threats to the integrity of organic.  The USDA organic integrity and the seal is the backbone of the organic market.  Organic Valley takes consumer trust seriously and needs a strong National Organic Program. We are pleased to see bi-partisan support for this measure.” 

Shirley Hudyncia, Organic Valley dairy farmer member, 11 years organic since 2006, Fort Plain NY: “As an organic farmer integrity in organics is fundamentally important to my livelihood – people buy organic because it means something and they trust it.  I applaud my Congressman John Faso for advancing this bill that not only resources the National Organic Program to get its work done, but also bolsters their ability to modernize and strengthen oversight, especially of international organic products.  Any fraud in organics cannot be tolerated whether domestic or international and this bill gives USDA more tools to demand accountability and execute enforcement.  Organic agriculture is an economic engine for rural America, it has made a difference for my family and for my community but we all must remain vigilant in protecting the integrity it signifies in the marketplace.  This is a needed and good bill.”

Andrianna Natsoulas, Executive Director, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York: “NOFA-NY applauds the Congressman's ongoing support for organic, and is very appreciative of this legislation for thisfast growing sector of our agricultural economy.  NOFA-NY just recently passed the 1,000 mark in number ofentities that we certify -- mostly in New York, and the continued growth of organic agriculture and food is dependent on strong trade oversight.”

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