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Lee Frankel, Executive Director
In Response to a Legal Action Filed by Cornucopia Institute against the California Certified Organic Farmers, Driscolls, Quality Assurance International and Wholesum Harvest, the Coalition for Sustainable Organics Has Released the Following Statement
SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 1, 2016 – “We are saddened, but not surprised, by the recent legal action filed by the Cornucopia Institute against California Certified Organic Farmers, Driscolls, Quality Assurance International and Wholesum Harvest Family Farms. It is the latest in a long line of tactics used to circumvent the regular procedures to work through long-standing industry and government institutions such as the National Organic Standards Board to determine the most appropriate policies for the organic industry,” stated Lee Frankel, executive director of the Coalition for Sustainable Organics.
“The Coalition believes that everyone deserves organics, and not just the economic elite,” continued Frankel. “The legal action threatens to significantly reduce existing supplies of many types of organic fresh produce currently nourishing consumers in this country in order to raise prices for a select few growers. The growers mentioned in the legal action are among hundreds of currently certified organic growers that use containers on their farms to sustainably produce fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in accordance with all of the relevant US organic laws and regulations.
Nothing in either the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (“OFPA” or “Act”) or USDA’s National Organic Program (“NOP”) regulations expressly prohibits an agricultural product from being labeled as organically produced if it was grown in water, air or any medium other than soil, nor does anything in the Act or the regulations require that agricultural products be grown in soil.
If a production practice is not prohibited or otherwise restricted by the OFPA, “that practice will be permitted unless it is determined that such practice would be inconsistent with the applicable organic certification program.”
“I worry that future grower participation in the public hearing and comment process will be stifled by having special interest groups use extraordinary legal procedures to target organic farmers that participate with the National Organic Standards Board,” said Frankel.
 7 C.F.R. Part 205.
 7 U.S.C.A. § 6512.