USDA Proposes Strengthening Organic Regulations? The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing significant modifications to its Organic certification program standards, which will have a significant influence on both the regular and speciality coffee industries.
The proposed new standards and rules were published in the Federal Register on August 5, and the public comment period will close on Monday, October 5. These modifications, if adopted, will be the first significant adjustments to the certification regulations. Since its inception in the year 2000, organic has been a popular choice.
Overall, the new regulations require more monitoring of certified Organic products throughout the supply chain, including the implementation of new compliance requirements and additional member monitoring. Agricultural cooperatives, exporters and importers, and packaged product makers, such as coffee roasters, are examples of supply chains.
Supply chain complexity, along with the rise of the organic food market over the last 20 years, according to Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS), the USDA agency that supervises the National Organic Program (NOP). The demand for additional surveillance has grown in the last year.
“The modern organic industry’s expansion and complexity have shown the limitations of present organic rules, revealing monitoring and enforcement holes that the original regulations did not address.” yes,” AMS wrote in his proposal. “When elements of a rule lack clear and defined standards, it can lead to differing interpretations, inconsistent practices, and uneven enforcement across the industry.” Organic supply chains are becoming increasingly complicated, which reduces transparency and complicates traceability, but these qualities are necessary for trusting the organic label. Furthermore, enterprises that operate in organic supply chains without NOP oversight put organic integrity in danger. This can result in organic product mismanagement, loss of organic product integrity, and fraud. This proposed rule’s provisions are intended to mitigate these dangers.”
Total organic product sales in the United States climbed from $3.4 billion in 1997 to $55.1 billion in 2019, according to the USDA.
Coffee is one of the few major agricultural goods produced outside of the country under the Organic program’s “grower group” criteria, which allows smallholder farmers to export their production. products to the market, and the cooperative can certify them as organic.
According to recent market data from firms such as Allied Industry Research and ReportLinkers, the USDA Organic certified coffee market in the United States was worth between $5.7 and $6.8 billion last year and is still rising.
While certified organic coffee is more expensive, there is little information on the costs and advantages for coffee growers, processors, and roasters. There is also little information on how much coffee is cultivated organically but not certified. As a result, more organic certified coffee is being marketed without the surcharges associated with conventional coffee.
In the coming weeks, DCN hopes to learn more about these planned changes and their specific potential consequences on coffee producers, traders, and roasters.