Interest in organic meat production has increased in the recent past and demand for organically grown meat is growing. Many consumers feel that organically grown products are safer to consume and produce and are better for the environment than conventional production due to the severe restrictions on the use of chemical, microbial, and synthetic agents. In 1990, Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) that mandated the USDA to develop standards for the organic production of food in the U.S. The National Organic Program (NOP) is housed in the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and administers OFPA and the rules and regulations of organic production.

The rules and regulations developed subsequent to OFPA were published in the Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 246, published on December 21, 2000, Rules and Regulations, Part IV, 7 CFR Part 205, National Organic Program, Final Rule. All producers, including foreign producers, who wish to use the terms “100 percent organic” or “organic” on labeling of products marketed in the U.S. must follow these rules. Amendments have been made to portions of the Final Rule, such as allowed and prohibited substances; however, the main stipulations in the regulatory language of the Rule remain the same.

All states in the U.S. must, at a minimum, follow regulations found in the Final Rule. States are allowed to impose stricter regulations than those provided by federal government, but only if the State has a State Organic Program approved by USDA/NOP. Producers should contact their state department of agriculture or a local certifying agent for individual state regulations and to obtain the most current regulations applicable.

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