The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) has published draft guidance clarifying the agency’s interpretation of regulations that require organic operations to “maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation, including soil and water quality.” Intended for accredited certifying agents and certified operations, the guidance provides examples of production practices that support the principles of natural resource and biodiversity conservation. It also describes (i) “the certified organic operator’s responsibility to select, carry out, and record production practices that ‘maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation’”; (ii) “the accredited certifying agent’s responsibility to verify operator compliance with this requirement”; and (ii) “how domestic organic operations that participate in a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program and the NOP can reduce their paperwork burdens.” The agency will accept comments on the draft guidance until February 27, 2015. See Federal Register, December 29, 2014.


Issue 550

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.