After making it through the California Assembly and Senate, AB 1870, the bill that would make needed reforms to the state program regulating organic food manufacturers, processors, and handlers, was vetoed by Governor Newsom.
CCOF pursued the legislation in response to issues raised by members about the administration of the State Organic Program by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which uses an outdated, paper-based registration system and continues to carry a backlog of unresolved complaints.
AB 1870, authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone and co-authored by State Senator John Laird and Assemblymember Marc Levine, would have required that CDPH
- establish an online registration and payment system for the State Organic Program;
- consolidate forms to make it easier to submit all necessary documents at one time;
- clear complaints in a timely fashion to remove bad actors from making organic claims; and
- provide transparency on how State Organic Program fees are spent.
Although the bill was vetoed, CCOF will continue to work with CDPH to make these changes that will benefit all certified organic processors and handlers in the state.
There is some good news to report: The 2022 budget bill includes funding for CDPH to upgrade information technology systems throughout the agency, some of which is specifically aimed at streamlining licensing systems. CCOF will engage with CDPH to prioritize creating an online registration and payment system for the State Organic Program.
CCOF thanks Assemblymember Stone for his support of organic during his tenure in the state legislature. He is currently serving his final term and has authored two bills to update state organic regulations. Also, a core group of CCOF-certified businesses provided crucial support of AB 1870 that helped it pass readily through the legislature. We will continue to work together to achieve our goal of supporting organic businesses in California.