Organic Milk Loophole: Closed

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USDA's 2002 organic rules said that dairy herds must have access to pasture. They did not say the animals had to actually be fed on pasture. This loophole is now supposed to be fixed. USDA has just issued new rules. [Curator's note: See this post by our own Barry Estabrook for more on the efforts of small farmers to fight for these new regulations.]

Starting in June, organic dairy herds must be sent to pasture for the entire grazing season of at least 120 days and must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during that season. Smaller organic dairy farmers are already doing this. Now the big ones will have to come into line. And about time too.

Here's how the New York Times explains this action.

Before this final rule, the Cornucopia Institute had a number of concerns (in 2008). The proposed rules were bundled together with provisions that had not been properly reviewed by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). These problems have now been solved.

Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute writes:

In its final version we are virtually 100% satisfied (still doing some technical review). Even more importantly we are highly impressed by the professional approach taken by Kathleen Merrigan and the staff at the organic program as to how they plan to implement this.

He sends the Institute's most recent press release celebrating the new rules.

Score this one as a win for organic advocates!

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Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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