Blog posts by regulatory

Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

AB 1066, the Phase-in Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, is a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would set new overtime pay requirements for California farm workers. The bill is sponsored by United Farm Workers (UFW), which argues that farm workers are unfairly excluded from federal wage protections and maximum hour standards. According to bill supporters, farm workers do not receive fair pay and yet have one of the most physically demanding occupations. Many agricultural groups oppose the bill, including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, August 29, 2016 on advocacy, policy, regulatory

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program (MCCP) is conducting a series of workshops to gather public input on a licensing program for medical cannabis cultivators. Eight workshops will be convened at various locations in the state beginning September 13, 2016. The full schedule is online. The MCCP was created this year in the wake of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, passed in 2015 by the state Legislature. A first step for the program is to create a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) that assesses the program’s...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on advocacy, genetic engineering, policy, regulatory

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed the GMO labeling bill into law. The president’s signature comes after the Senate passed the bill in a 63-30 vote, and the House passed it in a 306-117 vote. The new law will require mandatory labeling of GMOs on certain product labels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must now begin formulating regulations to implement the law.  CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members and encourage the submission of public comment when the USDA releases proposed rules. For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, August 1, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, regulatory

Last month, a court ruling invalidated a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) guidance regarding the allowance of green waste in organic systems (NOP 5016). The ruling was based on a determination that USDA violated administrative procedures when issuing the guidance. The final impact of this ruling on the use of compost will be determined in the future pending an appeal of the decision by USDA or the issuance of new guidance. More information will be made available in the coming weeks. CCOF is closely monitoring regulatory developments and will alert members...
Written by Guest Blogger on Monday, July 25, 2016 on container/hydroponics, NOSB, regulatory

In September of 2015, the National Organic Program appointed 16 members to a task force to explore hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with the USDA organic regulations. The task force was charged with preparing a report to inform the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as it determines the best path forward on hydroponic and aquaponic production systems. The NOSB is a federal advisory committee whose 15 members represent the entire organic community. NOSB members recommend whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling,...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 on advocacy, NOP, policy, regulatory

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision. The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment. The Organic...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, June 13, 2016 on livestock, NOP, regulatory, standards


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service extended the comment period for the Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices. Stakeholders now have until July 13, 2016 to submit comments. This landmark proposed rule adds numerous livestock and poultry production practices to the national organic standards. It proposes to add 19 new definitions to the standards and new requirements for livestock health care, mammalian living conditions, avian living conditions, transport, and slaughter. CCOF welcomes this long-awaited rule and urges the USDA...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, June 13, 2016 on materials and inputs, NOP, policy, regulatory, standards

CCOF and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently submitted statements representing the interests of organic producers in a federal lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems. The guidance states that organic standards are process-based. These processes aim to exclude pesticide residues. However, the compost may contain pesticide residues so long as those levels do not contribute to the contamination of...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 on advocacy, materials and inputs, NOP, NOSB, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met at the end of April to hear public comment, discuss the 2018 Sunset Materials, and vote on a number of proposals. NOSB also welcomed six new board members at the April meeting, including CCOF member Jesse Buie! Proposals Passed by NOSB NOSB discussed and voted on 12 proposals during the spring 2016 meeting. Most notably, NOSB voted on multiple proposals to change the use of parasiticides in organic livestock production. NOSB made a final recommendation to update organic regulatory language to require: “That parasiticides continue to be...
Written by Valerie George and Jane Sooby on Monday, April 11, 2016 on advocacy, livestock, policy, regulatory

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced on April 7, 2016, that it will propose amending the organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The proposed regulation, which is based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, is an effort to achieve consistency in organic livestock practices. It covers a range of topics including health care practices and living conditions for organic animals. Here are some of the highlights of the proposed rule: It sets forth separate living condition standards for mammals (e.g., cattle, sheep, and pigs) and poultry. It specifies...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, February 1, 2016 on policy, regulatory

The California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) published the 2015 Report on Legislation Related to and Food and Farming. The document reports on California bills related to CAFPC’s guiding principles and critiques the 2015 California legislative session. The document also presents legislator voting records to identify California policymakers who champion food issues, and offers a Food Policy Index to provide context-setting data points. As part of the CAFPC policy workgroup, CCOF participated in identifying bills to be tracked and analyzed for the report. CCOF strongly values the CAFPC...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, November 30, 2015 on advocacy, policy, regulatory, State Organic Program

Since the implementation of the national organic standards in 2002, CCOF members have expressed concerns that the California State Organic Program (SOP) duplicates the fee and reporting requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). In response to these concerns, CCOF wrote a comprehensive report in 2015 titled Review of the California State Organic Program. About the Report CCOF wrote the Review of the California State Organic Program in collaboration with an advisory committee to ensure input from a range of stakeholders, including organic producers, policy experts, and public...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, November 23, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

On Friday, November 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the final Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Produce Safety Rule establishes food safety standards for produce farms in the United States. Will the Produce Safety Rule impact my operation? The Produce Safety Rule includes requirements that address water quality, employee health and hygiene, wild and domesticated animals, manure and compost application, equipment, and buildings. For a run-down on the Produce Safety Rule and organic operations, see the Organic Trade Association’s response...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Monday, August 31, 2015 on advocacy, food safety, policy, regulatory

Over the next few months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will publish the final food safety requirements for produce farms and food processing facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Many produce farmers and food processors that make food for people to eat will need to comply with the new food safety requirements.How did we get here? In 2011, President Obama signed FSMA in to law. FSMA represented the first overhaul to food safety practices in the United States since 1938.FSMA directed FDA to engage in public rulemaking to establish new food safety standards. In...
Written by Meaghan Donovan on Friday, June 5, 2015 on livestock, policy, regulatory, standards

Submit your comments today on the National Organic Program’s (NOP) proposed rule on Origin of Livestock.About the Origin of Livestock Proposed RuleAfter years of anticipation, the NOP recently published a proposed rule that updates and clarifies organic requirements related to the transition of nonorganic dairy animals to organic production. The proposed rule states that milk or milk products labeled or sold as organic must come from dairy animals that have been managed organically since the last third of gestation, but that the NOP will make a one-time allowance for a producer to transition...

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