USA meat industry praises organic rule withdrawal

Trump axes Obama-era rule on organic farming

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rescinded the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule because it would have exceeded the department's authority and been a costly burden on organic producers, the government said. Industry estimates showed that organic food sales in the U.S. reached nearly $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of nearly $3.7 billion since 2015. In July 2016, Chairman Roberts led a bipartisan coalition of Senators in sending a second letter to the USDA requesting additional information on producers' concerns over the rule. In September, it filed a lawsuit against USDA alleging the agency violated the Organic Food Production Act by delaying the rule's effective date.

National Farmers Union, however, said USDA's move will exacerbate consumer confusion about the meaning of the organic label and negatively impact organic producers.

"This most recent egregious attempt by the department to ignore the will of the organic industry and consumers does not halt our judicial review, but, in fact, furthers our resolve", said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. "This latest action by USDA will only invigorate and solidify more support for this regulation". The Organic Trade Association noted that last week it requested that oral arguments now be heard on its lawsuit against USDA over the Department's failure to put into effect the new organic livestock standards. Most recently, the OTA requested that oral arguments be heard on a lawsuit that alleges USDA unlawfully delayed the effective date of the standards, abused its discretion by ignoring public record that supported the organic standards, and a regulatory freeze on federal agencies by the Trump administration issued on January 20, 2017, should not apply to organic standards because they are voluntary and apply only to those producers who participate. The rule covered animal care from production practices to transport, slaughter and living conditions for organic livestock and poultry. "The organic sector depends on USDA to set organic standards fairly and according to the law". USDA also recognizes that of those comments, only about 50 supported the withdrawal. They have argued its animal-welfare standards aren't based on science and are outside the scope of the Organic Food Production Act, which they say regulates only feeding and medication practices.

Two taken to hospital after suspicious substance found at British parliament
The package was sent to Muslim Labour MP Mohammad Yasin, according to local media reports. Several ambulances from the Incident Response Unit are on the scene.

But the Organic Trade Association, a business association of about 9,500 organic product businesses in the United States, blasted the USDA's decision, saying it "irresponsibly thwarted a fully vetted regulation overwhelmingly supported by the organic industry and the public".

What does the Organic Livestock Rule do? Producers were required to provide access to outdoor spaces, particularly for poultry.

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