USDA published new standards for organic livestock and poultry production
"USDA is creating a fairer, more competitive and transparent food system. This organic poultry and livestock standard establishes clear and strong standards that will increase the consistency of animal welfare practices in organic production and in how these practices are enforced", said Vilsack. "Competitive markets help deliver greater value to all producers, regardless of size".
This change was driven by strong interest from consumers and the organic industry. USDA encouraged the public to comment and USDA received more than 40,000 written comments, all of which were carefully reviewed to inform drafting of this final rule. USDA also held a listening session on August 2022 to hear public comments on the proposed rule.
OLPS improves uniformity with regard to animal welfare practice requirements for organic livestock and poultry, promoting their well-being and natural behaviors.
The final rule outlines more consistent standards for six key areas, including:
In partnership with USDA-accredited certifiers, USDA’s National Organic Program will oversee the implementation of and enforce compliance with these new, more consistent standards to support the growth of the organic market.
Implementing OLPS will give organic livestock and poultry farmers, ranchers and businesses - including those interested in transitioning to organic - more opportunities to compete fairly in the market. The rule supports ongoing consumer confidence and trust in the USDA organic seal by better aligning the organic standards with consumers’ expectations for animal welfare. Many consumers are willing to pay a premium for organic livestock products, particularly for the organic chicken, egg and meat industry. By increasing consumer trust in the organic label by aligning the organic standard with consumers’ animal welfare preferences, USDA is helping to deliver greater value to producers, and creating a fairer, more competitive and transparent food system.
The announcement supports USDA’s ongoing National Organic Program mission to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and maintain strong consumer confidence in the label. USDA-certified organic products are an increasingly important part of American agriculture, and the organic community represents a fast-growing food and farming sector in the United States and the global marketplace.
Earlier this year, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) previewed the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule. The final rule is the biggest update to the organic regulations since the original Act in 1990, providing a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to reinforce the trust of consumers, farmers and those transitioning to organic production.
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