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Feb 13, 2010 09:53 AM

New FDA Rules On "Organic" marginally less laughable

*Animals must graze on pasture for 4 months

The other 8 months?

*30% of their food must come from pasture

The other 70%?

*Farms will be inspected once per year


Interesting article. I wonder how many people's "organic" buying habits will be changed by these new regulations?

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  1. Nope, did not buy into the old styandard and did not see the point on spending so much extra for quality controls that were non-existent. Read "What we Eat" for a good laugh on the term organic meats.

    1. Maybe only a little better--or, more accurately, a little less bad--but whenever the government is involved, these kind of changes happen in tiny increments. Better to pass a half-assed law (or as in this case, enact new regulations) that can be built on in the years to come than to pass nothing. It'll never go from crappy to perfect in one round of reforms.

      Anyone who's interested in learning more or taking action can go here:

      1. That's why we buy local meat now. We meet the farmers, meet the animals and get a sense of how they do things. Lots of places growing meat and produce go beyond organic without paying for the certification.

        1. Bear in mind, in many parts of the country, you can't really have the animals graze on pasture for much of the year, because it's either too cold, too wet, or too dry for them or the grasses to grow--the rest of the time, they eat hay/silage.

          1 Reply
          1. re: xanadude

            The 120 days on pasture appear to be a minimum. From The New York Times article: "... animals must graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. The season will be determined by local conditions and agriculture authorities, like organic certifiers or county conservation officials, not by the dairy alone. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer. " I suspect that getting a full 120 days may be a push in some years in extreme northern parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some southern parts of the country have grazing seasons approaching the full year as long as several different forage crops with different seasonal production cycles are grown. Very little of the country has the potential for 12-month grazing using only native grasses.

            I have seen elsewhere that the 30% requirement is in terms of dry matter. I wonder how well that will be calculated for a small herd during a drought. Realistically, hay often has to be fed to supplement pasture during prolonged dry spells. The OP appears to be from Texas, where they have had a lot of experience with severe drought in the last few years and consequent forced herd liquidation or hauling hay long distances to keep the cattle alive.