Mar 7, 2022
Justice Department responds on behalf of USDA in organic lawsuit
The Coalition for Sustainable Organics (CSO) is heartened by the initial response of the Department of Justice to defend organic growers’ rights to incorporate appropriate and legitimate growing techniques in their organic operations.
The CSO opposes the efforts of the Center for Food Safety and a handful of growers to limit the availability of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and mushrooms.
Lee Frankel, executive director of the CSO, stated in a news release, “The lawsuit takes aim at all container systems. The requested decertification of organic growers would include everything from microgreens grown in a tray using soil to tomatoes grown with plastic lining under the planting bed to berries grown in a pot to leafy greens grown in a circulating water system.”
“Demand for organic produce has grown even stronger in recent weeks as consumers are looking for ways to strengthen their immune systems by avoiding unwanted chemicals, hormones and antibiotics in their diet,” Frankel continued. “We oppose this lawsuit and support the most recent vote of the National Organic Standards Board to not make containers and hydroponic production methods prohibited practices.
As USDA acknowledges in its response to the complaint, “certifiers have certified organic hydroponics operations since the beginning of the program and continue to certify organic hydroponics operations.”
Frankel continued, “If producers, marketers, and retailers truly support bringing healthy food to more consumers, especially in light of the pressures many households are facing as a result of the recent economic contraction, they must speak out against these efforts to restrict supplies.”