Prepared Foods August 23, 2005, enewsletter

Legal challenges by a Maine organic blueberry farmer have resulted in the U.S. federal government writing new regulations concerning organic food labeling.

Arthur Harvey sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002 alleging the organic food regulations were far more lax than the original legislation intended.

The lawsuit failed, but Harvey won several points on appeal including limiting the use of non-organic agricultural products in food tabled "organic."

The National Organic Standards Board, which advises the Agriculture Department, is meeting to discuss the ramifications of Harveys' lawsuit, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Under the existing rules, products must be 95% organic to be eligible for the Department of Agriculture's organic seal, but products with 70% organic ingredients can advertise they have been made with organic ingredients.

Several organic manufacturers said they might switch to the "made with" organic ingredients label that could result in less organic ingredients used.

For example, organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm says it has no organic substitute for inulin, made from an artichoke root and synthetic pectin, so it might have to go with the "made with" label in which case it would use non-organic sugar and fruit because they are less expensive.

Source: UPI