The United States Healthful Food Council® (DBA Eat REAL®) has been built upon growing consumer demand for transparency and sustainability in foodservice and food production. As such, Eat REAL stands in support of the Organic Livestock & Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule, finalized by the USDA this January (2017), which aims to increase the animal welfare regulations associated with the Organic label.
Here at Eat REAL, we feel strongly that the role of a certifying body is to give consumers a reliable tool for identifying food that falls in-line with their values and expectations. The landscape of sustainability is rapidly changing and, as such, it is the responsibility of established and trusted certifications, like USDA Organic, to remain current, in order to remain relevant and valuable to their consumer base. Without this, the Organic label runs the risk of becoming yet another pawn for “greenwashing” and the misleading marketing surrounding sustainable food products in the marketplace.
Consumers have come to associate the Organic label with high-quality food production, and are willing to pay a premium for these products. The USDA itself recognizes that “feedback indicates that most organic stakeholders strongly support rulemaking to better align organic livestock and poultry practices with consumer expectations.” In light of this recognition of consumer demand, the USDA has a responsibility to update the Organic label to reflect the values of their stakeholders.
“The USDA cannot afford to postpone the enactment of the OLPP rule,” said Eat REAL COO, Caesare Assad. “By delaying the adoption of increased animal welfare regulations for the Organic label, the USDA is undermining the value of their mark, and failing to represent consumer expectations and interests.”
Like Eat REAL Certified, the USDA Organic mark was developed to align consumer expectations with production practices in a measurable, and reliable way. With consumer expectations changing, the USDA has a responsibility to raise the bar and continue to push the industry in the right direction. To continue to postpone the enactment of this rule would be a serious mistake on the part of the USDA and would significantly undermine the value of their label in the marketplace.
Docket Number AMS-NOP-17-0031; NOP-15-06A
Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 0581-AD74
To see other public comments on the OLPP, visit regulations.gov.