May 13, 2015
TO: JPA Members
FROM: Patricia Faison
RE: JPA Regulatory Update
(1) BPA Added to California's Proposition 65 List
(2) Check-Off Program Proposed for the Organic Industry
(3) Mexico's Organic Regulations
BPA Added to California’s Proposition 65 List
JPA staff has been providing periodic updates regarding Bisphenol A (BPA), a substance used in the manufacture of some plastics used for food and beverage containers. Some concerns have been raised due to possible health risks associated with this substance.
JPA members were notified that on April 11, 2013, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) officially added BPA to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. In addition, members were advised that on April 19, 2013, OEHHA announced BPA was being removed from the list of Proposition 65 chemicals. A preliminary injunction was issued by the Honorable Raymond M. Cadei requiring OEHHA to delist the chemical pending final resolution of the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC’s) lawsuit challenging OEHHA’s listing of BPA.
OEHHA recently published a notice, available here, announcing the Agency is adding BPA to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. According to the notice, the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) “determined that BPA was clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause reproductive toxicity, based on the female reproductive endpoint.”
JPA will continue to monitor issues related to Proposition 65 and provide updates, as information becomes available.
Check-Off Program Proposed for the Organic Industry
According to a press release recently issued by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), available here, a petition has been submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “to begin steps to conduct a vote on and implement a research and promotion check-off program for the organic industry.” According to information posted on the USDA website, the commodity research and promotion programs (commonly known as check-off programs) are established under Federal law but are funded by the specific commodity industry, with a goal of increasing the success of the businesses and farmers that produce and sell the commodity. The OTA press release notes this would be the first time in the 49-year history of agricultural check-off programs in the U.S. that organic could be recognized as a distinct commodity class based on production practices. According to OTA, the organic check-off (known as GRO Organic (Generic Research and Promotion Order for Organic)) could raise more than $30 million for the organic industry with the program designed to address the industry’s most pressing needs.
OTA notes the after the USDA reviews the petition, the Agency will publish a notice in the Federal Register. Following a public comment period, a referendum on the proposed program will be voted on by all certified organic stakeholders that are eligible to vote. A majority vote is needed to implement the check-off program. Additional details related to the program are available here.
Mexico’s Organic Regulations
According to an article recently published in the USDA’s Global and Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) Report, available here, Mexico has published a notice extending the deadline to comply with Mexico’s organic regulations to October 29, 2016. The USDA notes the “extension allows products certified as organic under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to continue to enter and be sold in Mexico as organic.” The extension also allows time for the U.S. and Mexican governments to finish their work related to the establishment of an organic equivalency agreement between both countries.
As you may recall, the U.S. has established organic equivalency agreements with the European Union, Canada and Korea.
JPA will continue to monitor and provide updates, as information becomes available.
As always, please contact me with questions or comments.
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