For Immediate Release
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Contact: Barbara Haumann
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Organic Trade Association presents stance at Indiana meeting
OTA opposes any labeling regulation affecting organic dairy products
GREENFIELD, Mass. (Aug. 26, 2008)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) opposes any proposed state regulation on dairy labeling that would affect the way organic dairy products are labeled concerning the synthetic growth hormone rBGH, the association told the Indiana State Department of Agriculture's Milk Labeling Working Group at its meeting last Friday in Indianapolis, IN.
" Any proposed restriction would prevent organic dairy farmers and processors from truthfully communicating with retailers and consumers regarding federally regulated organic production practices. It also would prevent Indiana consumers from exercising full and free choice in determining which products they wish to purchase," according to David Gagnon, OTA's Interim Director.
Steve Harrold of OTA member Caito Foods delivered this stakeholder statement on behalf of OTA to the meeting. In addition, OTA submitted a letter to Acting Indiana Agricultural Director Ken Klemme and a white paper on the issue of dairy labeling to the task force.
In the letter, Gagnon pointed out that organic agriculture is regulated nationally under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program having oversight over both the certifiers of organic farms and handlers and labeling statements made under OFPA.
"By definition, organic farmers never have used synthetic growth hormones such as rBST or rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). The statement about non-use of synthetic growth hormones organic farmers and their dairies make on their dairy product labels is an organic process claim authorized under OFPA," Gagnon wrote.
Monsanto, which has been linked to the state-by-state efforts to impose restrictions on dairy labels concerning the non-use of rBGH, recently announced it is selling its POSILAC® recombinant growth hormone to Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. Eli Lilly and Company is based in Indianapolis.
OTA, via a lawsuit, currently is challenging Ohio's emergency dairy labeling regulation that excessively limits organic dairy manufacturers' ability to provide truthful and non-misleading information to consumers on dairy product labels. See www.ota.com for further details.