- The “Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO) 2023″ has been introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives.
- The bill aims to amend the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to streamline and improve organic standards.
- The legislation mandates the USDA to review and revise national organic standards at least once every five years.
- The bill has the support of the largest organic coalition in recent history, including the Organic Trade Association and the National Organic Coalition.
- The initiative addresses the need for continuous improvement and innovation in the organic sector, which has grown to a $67 billion market in the U.S.
In a significant move to ensure the continued growth and improvement of organic standards, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress. The “Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO) 2023” aims to amend the Organic Foods Production Act 1990. The bill was introduced by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
Streamlining Organic Standards
The proposed legislation seeks to provide a streamlined and predictable process for reviewing and revising organic standards by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The bipartisan bill mandates that the USDA review and revise national organic standards “not less frequently than once every five years.” This aligns with the Organic Trade Association’s priority for continuous improvement in the 2023 Farm Bill.
Broad Coalition Support
The bill enjoys the support of the largest organic coalition in recent history, spearheaded by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The coalition includes the National Organic Coalition, the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, the Organic Farmers Association, and the Organic Produce Association. This broad support underscores the bill’s significance in ensuring that organic standards evolve to meet the needs of both producers and consumers.
Addressing Market Needs
The organic sector has grown tremendously, becoming a $67 billion market in the U.S. However, the federal regulatory framework has lagged behind the evolving market needs, slowing innovation and continuous improvement. The CIAO Act aims to equip the USDA with the right tools to be more responsive to organic producers and to provide a regulatory framework that maximizes the industry’s growth.
Public and Private Partnership
Since establishing the first nationwide organic standards in 2000, a unique private-public partnership has made the organic regulatory system a gold standard globally. The bill aims to continue this partnership by involving organic farmers, businesses, and the community in decision-making.