The USDA has announced it has withdrawn the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule published on Jan. 19.
The withdrawal is effective May 13, 2018. The rule would have amended organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling, transport for slaughter and avian living conditions. It would have also expanded existing requirements for livestock care, production practices and mammalian living conditions.
After the rule was published, several policy and legal issues were identified. After review and two rounds of public comment, the USDA determined that the rule exceeded the department’s statutory authority. In addition, the department determined that changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including increased costs for producers and consumers.
The USDA reports that in 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased by 7 percent domestically and 11 percent globally. Industry estimates showed that organic sales in the United States for 2016 were almost $47 billion, an increase of almost $3.7 billion from the previous year.