2018 was a relatively quiet year for manufacturers of organic food, fiber and other non-food categories with the exception of a historical change to the allowance of natural flavors used in organic products, a mile marker precedent set by the Federal Trade Commission and a handful of amendments made to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
For organic crop producers, most regulatory activity took place at the NOSB level, with recommendations passed to NOP on organic seed usage and conversion of native ecosystems to organic production. A few materials were amended on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
2018 was a significant year for organic livestock producers. Although two landmark practices standards were withdrawn, NOP conducted a broad range of National List revisions to expand the options for health care treatments for organic livestock.
Food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food or ingredients for economic gain, has plagued the food industry throughout history. Although it is not known conclusively how widespread food fraud is in the United States or worldwide, it is now estimated to be a $50 billion industry for the total food market --about the same size as the entire 2017 U.S. organic market.
Some 200 organic stakeholders gathered this spring in Washington, D.C., for the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Policy Conference to talk about the future of organic, and their roles in that future. Meeting in the historic National Press Building where for almost 100 years journalists have heard from American presidents and lawmakers, foreign heads of state, business titans and international celebrities, the organic advocates had a lot on their minds.
Following a public comment period, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in mid-December approved a final consent order settling its first-ever case against a company making false organic product claims.