USDA Strengthens Organic Integrity Through Residue Testing

Beginning January 1, 2013, organic certifying agents must test samples from at least 5 percent of the operations they certify on an annual basis.

While testing has always been a part of organic product oversight and is required by the Organic Foods Production Act, today’s action specifies the minimum amount of testing that must occur.

This additional testing will help certifying agents identify and take enforcement action against farms and businesses intentionally using prohibited substances or methods.

Certifying agents may test USDA organic farms and processors across the United States and throughout the world for any prohibited substances and methods, including:

  • Prohibited pesticides – possible target list
  • Arsenic or other contaminant metals
  • Genetic engineering – GMO policy
  • Synthetic hormones

Antibiotics, except in organic apple and pear production per USDA organic regulations This increased oversight will increase consumer confidence in organic products worldwide, supporting continued growth of the $32 billion organic industry in the United States.

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