NOP Guidance Statements overturned by Ag secretary

May 26, 2004, as reported by In a press conference held today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman withdrew four Guidance Statements to the organic rule under mounting pressure from the organic community. The statements drafted by the National Organic Program came under criticism not only for their content but also for the close-door manner in which they were implemented.

The guidance statements, which were announced on April 28, made clarifications to the organics standards that would have allowed some pesticides, animal drugs, growth hormones and antibiotics would be used on organic farms.

In response to the new directives, many environmental and consumer groups, including the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), launched campaigns to pressure the USDA into reversing the controversial directives.

Veneman's announcement this week, which surprised many organic groups, effectively rescinded all of the new guidelines. The secretary’s decision was welcomed by the OCA and other organic and consumer groups.

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