Jan 23, 2018
What California’s new organic regulations mean for growers

California is the leading agricultural state in the country and we are proud of the products that are grown and produced here. The laws and regulations that are in place protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors, and retailers by establishing standards for agricultural products and foods that are labeled and/or sold as organic.

CDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) is always seeking effective and efficient ways to protect and promote growth of the organic industry. That means continuously reviewing regulations to ensure they align with the requirements of the SOP, while protecting the organic industry.

The SOP is responsible for enforcing the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA) (AB 1826), formerly the California Organic Products Act of 2003.

The program works closely with local county agricultural commissioners as partners, as well as organic certifiers and industry leaders through the California Organic Products Advisory Committee(COPAC).

When AB 1826 was enacted on January 1, 2017, it actually reduced the amount of information the SOP could collect from organic operations for registration. The program has since discovered that limits its ability to enforce organic regulations.

As a result, the SOP and COPAC came together and worked for several regulatory changes to allow the SOP to conduct more effective enforcement.

Here is a brief summary of the changes, which are effective April 1, 2018:

  • An expansion of the minimum information required for organic registration. This will increase the number of commodity categories from 6 to 29 and include a requirement to list specific the commodities at the time of registration.
  • The SOP will collect information on aggregate commodity gross sales information; acreage by commodity; and locations where products are produced, handled, or processed.

These amendments will allow the SOP to obtain specific information to conduct enforcement and investigation activities in a more efficient and thorough manner that will be a benefit to the organic industry.

The program’s priorities are to protect the integrity of organic products sold in California and enhance outreach to organic stakeholders. The SOP works to ensure that the organic product supply chain is free of fraud, deception, and mislabeling, so that consumer confidence may continue to build in the organic industry.

Read the full regulation report on the CDFA Inspection Services Laws & Regulations website: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/regulations.html. If you have any questions, send an email to [email protected] or visit https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/i_&_c/organic.html

— From the California Department of Agriculture’s Planting Seed blog

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