February 22, 2005

Crapo and Craig give Organic Farmers and Consumers a Boost.

Senate bill set to restore standards of organic food production

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig have co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would repeal a special interest provision of the newly-enacted omnibus appropriations bill that undermines the organic standards and labeling programs.Late in this yearâ??s appropriations process, after the Conference Committee had met, a provision was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act gutting standards on organic feed. This would allow producers to label their products â??organicâ?? without meeting the requirement that the animals be fed organically grown feed. The USDA rejected this approach last June.  The organic industry opposes the weakening of the organic standards that consumers depend on for ensuring that foods that are labeled as organic truly are organic. â??This bill is as simple as they come,â?? Crapo said. â??The special interest provision would benefit one poultry operation in Georgia and should never have been passed in the first place. Idaho is one of the largest producers of organically grown feed, with more than 100,000 acres in organic production, at a value of nearly $6 billion annually. I am pleased to co-sponsor this bill that will keep organic producers in Idaho profitable while maintaining the strong organic standards in place for consumers.â?? "A lot of hard work went into the National Organic Program over the last decade,â?? said Senator Larry Craig. â??I had the opportunity to be a part of shaping the program and it's disappointing to see that effort being disregarded."The bill will be referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture. The organic foods industry is $11 billion industry and is rapidly growing. # # #