Farmers Sue USDA for Appointing Unqualified Individuals to Organics Board

Do you know that farmers have gone to the court against the USDA? Yes, it’s true. Take a look below and see why they have decided to sue USDA

The Cornucopia Institute is a community of hundreds of organic farmers. Two members of Cornucopia Institute has filed a lawsuit against the UDSA (United States Department of Agriculture) and Tom Vilsack who is the Secretary of Agriculture. In the lawsuit, they claimed that the Department has appointed non-qualified persons to check that what food comes under the definition of “organic.”

The lawsuit has been filed against the USDA and Vilsack as well for “designating non-qualified professional to the National Organic Standards Board.” National Organic Standards Board is basically a group of professionals who advise how to apply the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act.

The job of National Organic Standards Board is to make a list of substances that are allowed or disallowed in “USDA organic” label for the United States.

The Organic Foods Protection act’s purpose is:

  • “to establish national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products;
  • to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard; and
  • to facilitate interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.”

Farmers Sue USDA


The complaint reads:

“USDA has failed this responsibility and has shirked its legal obligations by appointing individuals to the [National Organic Standards Board] NOSB that violate the [Organic Foods Production Act’s] OFPA’s board composition requirements. Further, USDA’s improper appointments violate FACA, which requires that the membership and viewpoints of a federal advisory committee be fairly balanced.”

Read More: Six Foods Where ORGANIC Matters the Most

The plaintiffs argue that positions given to the “underqualified” have deprived Cornucopia’s members of the positions, unrightfully so.

Farmers sue USDA… Continue reading

“[The defendants] do not align with the interests of owners or operators of organic farm operations over half the time. These unqualified individuals do not have the requisite experience and knowledge, and personal investment in certified organic production agriculture, to properly advocate for the interests of organic farmers.”
The individual plaintiffs, farmers Dominic Marchese and Rebecca Goodman, say that the appointees continuously voted to keep substances on the National Organic Standards Board’s list that other farmers wanted gone.

“the greater number of chemicals remaining on the National List places a drain on Cornucopia’s resources by increasing the number of chemicals Cornucopia has to review and report on in pursuit of its mission … Cornucopia estimates that it spends $600 per substance it reviews and estimates that the cost of preparing for these reviews by the [Board] NOSB over the course of a year well exceeds $100,000.”

All in all, the plaintiffs feel these issues go against the well-being of the general public.

“The American people have a right to trust that food certified as organic is free of inappropriate or inadequately reviewed synthetic substances that do not comport with the [Organic Foods Production Act] OFPA,” the complaint states.

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