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Federal GMO Labeling Bill Sparks Controversy, Passes Senate

By a 63-30 bipartisan vote, the United States Senate approved a federal GMO labeling bill introduced in June by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Roberts and Stabenow have been publicly working on the terms of the bill since early this year in response to a federal bill that would have prohibited mandatory labeling and Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling requirements that took effect July 1 (with a six-month grace period).

Final Chance to Comment on Removal of Marsala, Sherry, Streptomycin, and Tetracycline from the National List

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) approved removal of four materials from the National List, and the proposed rule that finalizes removal is now open for comment through August 31, 2015. Read the rule and submit a comment.

Marsala wine and sherry wine were eligible for sunset removal and the NOSB voted these ingredients off the list at its fall 2014 meeting.

First Issue of Bagrada Bug News Published

The Bagrada Bug Working Group has launched its first issue of the quarterly publication Bagrada Bug News.

The Bagrada Bug Working Group is a collaboration between CCOF and researchers at CDFA’s Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, UC Cooperative Extension, USDA-ARS, UC Davis, UC Riverside, and University of Arizona. The working group convened in 2015 to address the challenge of managing this emerging pest in organic mustard-family crop production.

Food Safety Regulations Soon to Become Law

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.

GMO Labeling Bill Signed into Law

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. 

GMO Labeling of Organic Products Takes a Step Forward

For years, the Organic Trade Association has supported efforts to bring federal mandatory GMO labeling to the United States. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a federal labeling bill that not only requires disclosure of GMO ingredients, but also includes important provisions that are excellent for organic farmers and food makers – and for the millions of consumers who choose organic every day - because they recognize, unequivocally, that USDA Certified Organic products qualify for non-GMO claims in the market place.

Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) recently released its 2014 Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs. The guide is a free digital resource for farmers, conservationists, and other members of the sustainable agriculture and food community. The comprehensive guide breaks down federal programs and policies into plain-language explanations and includes valuable resources.

Help Keep Politics Out of the Organic Standards

Please send a letter to your U.S. senator today and urge them to vote NO on any amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that interferes with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to keep organic animal welfare standards strong.

Send an electronic letter directly to your senators.

House Rejects Farm Bill - Future Uncertain for Organic and Other Programs

As the farm bill process has twisted and turned, it’s been hard to predict what comes next.  Today, in a turn of events that surprised many, the House voted down the farm bill. The $940 billion bill was weak on organic and other sustainable agriculture priorities, but having no bill may be even worse. The USDA is currently acting under an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, which expires in September. Under the extension, many programs important to CCOF members, such as the Organic Certification Cost Share program, are not available.

Investments in Climate Smart Agriculture Delayed

This week the California State Legislature sent the fiscal year 2016-17 budget to Governor Jerry Brown without deciding how the state would spend billions in climate change investments.

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