Mar 23, 2023
OPS 2023 session to examine effects of SOE on organic produce supply chain

The effects of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule on the organic fresh produce supply chain will be the topic of the second announced educational session at the 2023 Organic Produce Summit.

The session, “Change is Coming: Getting Fresh Produce Ready for the New Organic Enforcement Rule,” will feature a trio of industry leaders and will be moderated by Gwendolyn Wyard, the Organic Trade Association’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

“Fresh produce accounts for over a third of total organic sales. Organic produce is often the entry point for consumers new to organic and where consumer trust in the organic label is established,” Tom Chapman, OTA CEO, said in the association’s March 23 newsletter. “These sweeping new rules will strengthen integrity along the entire supply chain and will require some work and adjustments by all of us. OPS attendees will hear from leaders from across the organic produce supply chain about how their operations are getting ready and how to address the most impactful changes before the 2024 implementation.”

Panelists for the session include William (Bill) Brodegard, vice president of food safety and compliance for Driscoll’s; Brenna Davis, CEO of Organically Grown Company; and Chris Miller, produce director for MOM’s Organic Markets.

The session will be moderated by Gwendolyn Wyard, the Organic Trade Association’s vice president of regulatory affairs. Photo: Provided

The updated rule includes new certification documentation for organic imports and the certification of brokers, handlers and storage facilities handling unsealed produce. The rule also changes labeling requirements for non-retail packaging and makes on-site inspections more robust and consistent.

The SOE rule is the biggest update to USDA organic regulations since they were first published in 2000.

Its goals are to bolster organic integrity and consumer confidence in the USDA organic seal by supporting strong control systems, improving farm-to-market traceability, increasing import oversight authority and providing robust regulation enforcement.

OPS 2023 will be held July 12-13 in Monterey, CA. The session focused on the new SOE rule is the second of five educational sessions and a pair of keynotes available for attendees.

The event will also include field tours for retailers and buyers, an opening night reception and a sold-out trade show floor featuring more than 170 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and around the globe.

Registration is available online.

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