In a little noticed decision one week ago, an Ohio Department of Agriculture dairy labeling rule that was more stringent than federal Food and Drug Administration policy was dropped by the agency to the cheers of family farmers and others involved in the organic dairy industry.
As of 2008, ODA had demanded that dairy producers and marketers attach government-approved qualifying statements to labels when claims such as “Hormone Free” were used on the labels. Organic producers have been especially incensed over the rule because they control their dairy herds’ environment to be free of pesticides and from administering growth and other hormones to dairy cows such as rBST, a synthetic bovine growth hormone routinely given to dairy cattle in factory farming environments.
With the rule, organic dairies had to add statements to their labels that were unfair – and many would say unfounded – qualifiers. Now, USDA Certified Organic producers will be able to tout that fact on their labels as well as letting consumers know, without qualification, that their product is hormone free.
“Ohio’s abandonment of this misguided rule is a victory for consumers, farmers and manufacturers alike,” said Christine Bushway, CEO of the Organic Trade Association. (OTA)
“The organic label is a federally regulated program that provides consumers with the knowledge that their food is produced without the use of antibiotics, pesticides or added growth hormones. Consumers have the right to make informed choices about the foods they eat, and farmers and manufacturers can continue to communicate truthfully with consumers” Bushway added.