SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA June 12, 2020 – The Coalition for Sustainable Organics (CSO) is pleased with the schedule set by Judge Seeborg in the lawsuit seeking to strip growers of their rights to incorporate appropriate and legitimate growing techniques in their organic operations. The CSO continues to oppose the efforts of the Center for Food Safety and a handful of growers to limit the availability of fresh organic berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, herbs, microgreens and mushrooms.
Lee Frankel, executive director of the CSO, stated, “The sooner growers can be sure that the rules established by Congress, the US Department of Agriculture and the National Organic Standards Board that allow for growers to use containers in their operations will remain in place, the more quickly growers can get back to focusing on providing nutritious and delicious organic fresh produce to consumers looking for ways to strengthen their immune systems during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Under the Scheduling Order, USDA has until July 15 to provide the Administrative Record supporting its decision to deny the petition of the CFS to revoke certification of organic growers incorporating containers on their farms. A series of briefs will be filed culminating in a hearing currently scheduled for January 21, 2021 to present what will likely be the final arguments in the case prior to the judge’s decision.
The Department of Justice on behalf of the USDA stated in the case management order filed prior to the judge’s order that “The agency properly concluded that the OFPA [Organic Foods Production Act] does not prohibit hydroponic production systems. It properly determined that organic hydroponic systems cycle and conserve resources in a manner consistent with the vision for organic agriculture expressed by the OFPA, that hydroponic organic systems produce food in a way that can minimize damage to soil and water, and that hydroponic organic systems can support diverse biological communities. USDA fully explained these reasons and others in its decision denying the petition—a decision that courts review under an extremely limited and highly deferential standard.”
Frankel continued, “The CSO agrees with the USDA. We look to broaden the coalition to other producers, marketers, and retailers that support bringing healthy food to more consumers because we believe that everyone deserves organics.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Lee Frankel, Executive Director