Question: What is the Organic Foods Production Act?
What is the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and why was it created?
The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) falls under Title XXI of the 1990 Farm Bill. Before this act was created organic food did exist. Organics, for a long time had been certified by state and other private agencies. However, organic practices were not regulated from state to state or at a national level.
The problem with state and private agencies mandating organic integrity is that "organic" could mean any number of things depending on location and agency.
Goal of the Organic Foods Production Act
- To establish national standards for organics that would be held up state-to-state.
- To clear up labeling confusion and stop mislabeling.
- To educate consumers, growers and producers about what real organics are.
- To facilitate interstate commerce related to organic food.
- To protect consumers and other businesses against organic fraud.
OFPA is not the last word in organics. The act allows states to set organic standards that are even more restrictive than federal standards. Any regulations set by individual states must be approved by the USDA.
Subsequently, the Organic Foods Production Act resulted in OFPA authorization of the formation of a National Organic Program (NOP) and a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 can be read in full at the National Organic Program website under Resource Center: Regulations.