In order to help increase organic integrity across the board, the USDA has decided that all organic certifying agents must test samples from at least 5 percent of the operations they certify on an annual basis.
The new rule kicks off on January 1, 2013. In the past, residue testing has been required via the Organic Foods Production Act but the new rules specify a minimum amount of testing that must occur on an annual basis. The new rule notes that certifying agents should be testing certified USDA organic farms and processors across the U.S. (and elsewhere) for various prohibited substances and methods, such as...
- Prohibited pesticides.
- Arsenic or other contaminant metals.
- Genetic engineering.
- Synthetic hormones.
- Antibiotics, except in organic apple and pear production per USDA organic regulations.
NOP notes that this, "Additional testing will help certifying agents identify and take enforcement action against farms and businesses intentionally using prohibited substances or methods." Learn more via the links below.