Federal Court Rules on Organic Labels in Ohio

On March 30, 2009, a Federal District Court in Ohio upheld an emergency rule enacted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture regarding the labeling of organic milk and dairy products.

According to published reports, Ohio's rule set to eliminate mentions of whether or synthetic growth hormones (rBGH) were used on milk or dairy products. The label eliminations would also include organic milk and dairy products as well.

The Organic Trade Association filed reports in 2008 against Ohio’s Department of Agriculture to prevent the passing of the rule.

According to the Organic Trade Association, "The ruling ... goes against the rights of organic dairy farmers and processors to communicate truthfully with consumers regarding federally regulated organic production practices required for products to bear the USDA Organic seal."

In order to qualify for the organic label, organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic growth hormones (rBGH), genetically engineered organisms (GMOS), antibiotics and toxic, persistent, synthetic pesticides. The standards also mandate a rigorous system for inspection, certification and verification of organic practices, all of which protect consumers who choose organic products.  

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