USDA to rescind organic livestock and poultry rules

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USDA to rescind organic livestock and poultry rules

By Gina Acosta - 12/19/2017

The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era rules for how animals should be treated if their meat is going to be sold as “certified organic.”

Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue announced that his agency will withdraw a proposed organic rule for livestock and poultry, a move hailed by the National Pork Producers Council.

The Obama-era regulation – the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule – would have incorporated into the National Organic Program welfare standards that were not based on science and that were outside the scope of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. The act limited consideration of livestock as organic to feeding and medication practices.

“We’d like to thank Sec. Perdue and the Trump administration for listening to our concerns with the rule and recognizing the serious challenges it would have presented our producers,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill.

NPPC raised a number of problems with the regulation, including animal and public health concerns and the fact that animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic.” NPPC also cited the complexity the standards would have added to the organic certification process, creating significant barriers to existing and new organic producers.

In withdrawing the rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the regulation exceeded the agency’s authority – something NPPC pointed out in comments on the rule – and that it would have had a greater economic impact on farmers than originally estimated.

The withdraw notice, which will be published in the Federal Register next week, is subject to a public comment period.