Ag Chair Pat Roberts said he’s known for some time that the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program was not intercepting fraudulent imports of organic food. Roberts said he may now be ready to seek a fix in the next farm bill. Recently the Washington Post reported millions of pounds of shipments of possibly fraudulent “organic” products were imported into the US. But that’s not news to the Senate Ag chairman.
“My constituents in Kansas brought this issue to my attention a year ago,” Roberts said . We pushed the Department of Agriculture at that time to do something. And it is clear that if it takes this long to get action something needs to change.”
Roberts told a farm bill hearing last week that lawmakers need to ensure that “overregulation and antiquated government processes” are not keeping farmers from succeeding in tough economic times.
“However it seems uncertainty and dysfunction have overtaken the National organic Standards Board and the regulations associated with the National Organic Program.”
USDA recently decertified two of three firms involved in fraudulent shipments, while three key Senate Democrats have asked USDA’s inspector general to boost enforcement of organic import standards.
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