Blog posts by standards

Written by Cathy Calfo and Jake Lewin on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, standards

In recent weeks we at CCOF have observed a variety of activities and discussions about organic certification and organic standards. In the week following the April National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, the Accredited Certifiers Association issued a noteworthy letter supporting the USDA and NOP. See CCOF’s thoughts on the sunset process change when they were announced last fall. At CCOF we believe that everyone is welcome to their opinions. We know that organic standards and certification systems are stronger and stricter than they’ve ever been. Our focus is making meaningful...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, May 5, 2014 on advocacy, livestock, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards


CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access. In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations. In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the...
Written by Brise Tencer on Monday, April 28, 2014 on NOSB, standards

The spring 2014 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting will be held April 29 - May 2 in San Antonio, Texas. The NOSB will take up a slate of issues left over from fall 2013, when the meeting was cancelled due to lack of a federal budget. CCOF will be represented at the meeting by staff and board members. We expect an array of interesting discussions and hot topics. View the meeting agenda online.   CCOF will report back to our members on outcomes from the meeting. In the meantime, you can read CCOF’s comments on the various proposals and discussion documents below. Streptomycin (...
Written by Jane Sooby on Thursday, April 3, 2014 on NOSB, regulatory, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is the advisory committee that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. There are currently four seats open on the NOSB: environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer with significant trade in organic products. NOSB members are volunteers who represent the diversity of the organic community. They are appointed for five-year terms and are expected to attend meetings twice a year, participate in conference calls bimonthly or more, review materials on the National List of Allowed...
Written by Val George on Friday, March 21, 2014 on drought, livestock, NOP, standards


An article published in many online newspapers on March 20 exemplifies how misinformation about the organic label can spread quickly. In the article, titled "How California’s drought is changing organic milk and honey", Hoda Emam begins by saying "the milk you think is organic, isn’t. Not really." Ms. Emam not only does a disservice to the organic label with this sentence but continues on in the article with information that makes it plainly obvious that many significant parts of this story were left out. It is important to note that although this article may be attempting to lead readers to...
Written by Jane Sooby on Friday, February 14, 2014 on drought, NOP, standards

In response to requests made by CCOF and other certifiers, the National Organic Program (NOP) approved a temporary variance request pertaining to the livestock pasture standards. The variance applies to organic ruminant livestock producers located in California counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas. These producers, who typically graze their animals in February and March, are not required to graze or provide dry matter intake from pasture during February and March 2014, and may reduce their grazing season by the number of days in their grazing plan that fall in...
Written by Guest Blogger on Thursday, October 24, 2013 on advocacy, seeds, standards

This post was written by Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. She recently published an article in Agriculture and Human Values entitled, "Confronting coexistence in the United States: organic agriculture, genetic engineering, and the case of Roundup Read alfalfa." For another opinion on organic seed issues, visit UNFI VP of Policy and Industry Relations Melody Meyer's blog, Organic Matters. Seed has been in the national headlines a lot these days. We’ve read about chefs teaming up with plant breeders to explore seed as a new frontier, and...
Written by Brise Tencer on Friday, October 11, 2013 on NOSB, standards

As a result of the government shutdown, the National Organic Standards Board meeting scheduled for October 22-24 has been cancelled. Stay tuned for further information. It is unclear if the fall meeting will be rescheduled or agenda items will be postponed until the next regularly scheduled NOSB meeting, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, April 29-May 1, 2014.
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 on advocacy, grower, handler, materials and inputs, NOSB, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met April 9-11 in Portland, Oregon. NOP Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy reported on the many activities of the National Organic Program (NOP) in the six months since the last meeting. Recent activities include work on the previous NOSB nanotechnology recommendations, international agreements, and aquaculture standards. Proposed rules in progress include origin of livestock, final rule on sodium nitrate, and apiculture standards. Guidance documents still to come this year include grower groups, inspector qualifications, responding to results...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, grower, handler, standards

Update 04/30/13: The FDA has extended the comment period on the proposed food safety regulations until September 16.  This change was made as a result of numerous requests for more time to review the proposals, which are complex.  The additional time offers CCOF members an opportunity to provide more feedback about the proposals, areas for concerns, or suggested changes. We encourage you to continue sending us your feedback to policy@ccof.org. Original Post 03/13/13: I wanted to take this opportunity to update CCOF members on the FDA proposed rules for implementation of the Food Safety...
Written by Zea Sonnabend on Thursday, March 7, 2013 on advocacy, farming: materials and inputs, grower, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

CCOF is committed to ending the use of antibiotics in organic fruit production. We believe that a longer time period is necessary for oxytetracycline than the current 2014 expiration date because of the continuing research in varying locations and seasons that would ensure success, the need for registration of new materials, and enough time for grower education and outreach. We would like to see an extension in the range of 2017 to 2020 for phase out; however, we support the majority position to extend the expiration date for the use of oxytetracycline to October 21, 2016. While our clients...
Written by Brise Tencer on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 on advocacy, food safety, policy, standards

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released two proposed rules for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law on January 4, 2011. One of the rules is about produce safety and other is about processing. Both rules have 120-day comment periods. Additional rules related to implementation of FSMA are expected. The proposed Produce Safety Rule would establish standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce on domestic and foreign farms in light of identified routes of microbial contamination of produce, including agricultural water;...