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Pacific Northwest
Hawai'i CFS

Statement on Organic Grower Group Amicus Brief

March 05, 2024
Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety, representing itself and eight other organic stakeholders, recently filed a "friend of the court" amicus brief in support of organic "grower group" certification in a case challenging the longstanding practice, which was further codified in USDA's 2023 organic rule revisions.

The Organic Food Production Act's (OFPA) unambiguously supports the inclusion of grower groups, a well-established, internationally recognized, and necessary practice that is a critical element for the proliferation of organic practices globally and the inclusion of thousands of smallholder farmers in the organic marketplace. While we strongly condemn any organic fraud and call on USDA to use its authority to prevent it, individual cases of fraud should not be confused with the importance of the grower group system. In fact, USDA's new rule gives it increased strength to address any such problems. And any prohibition on group certification would cause catastrophic consequences to all organic stakeholders: the lost livelihoods of small organic farmers around the world, the elimination of the sourcing for organic companies, and loss of these organic products like coffee, chocolate, and more for organic consumers. Accordingly, we presented these concerns to the court in support of the efficacy and legality of the grower group certification process, a system that significantly benefits organic farmers, the environment, and consumers.

Read the full amicus brief here. The amici groups include organic nonprofits, companies, international certifiers, and grocers.

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