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USDA To Enforce 20-Year-Old Law Requiring Spot Testing Of Organic Foods

March 19, 2010: 03:47 AM EST
Bolstered by a doubled budget and staff, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program beginning in September will step up enforcement of a 20-year-old law requiring spot testing of organic foods for pesticide residues. First priority will go to growers with the highest risk of contamination, the agency said. A recent USDA auditor’s report revealed that the program under the Bush administration had been lax in enforcing organic testing rules, had failed to sufficiently evaluate independent certifiers of foreign organic operations, and had been slow to take action against marketers of falsely labeled foods. Tightened oversight – including surprise inspections of producers, processors and stores – was applauded by the organic food industry as “critical to … the long-term health” of the business because consumers would be assured that the organic label was accurate.
WILLIAM NEUMAN, "U.S. Plans Spot Tests of Organic Products", New York Times, March 19, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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