Shutdown Halts Government Monitoring of Organic Validity
UNITED STATES - As the government shutdown heads into day 27, the effects are being felt throughout several facets of federal operations—including organic monitoring. Melody Meyer of Organic Matters recently wrote on how government employees at The National Organic Program (NOP) who are usually responsible for upholding the integrity of the organic industry are currently unable to answer calls or emails, creating a backlog of prospective issues for consumers that have situations to report and industry members with questions or needs.
“The Organic Trade Association is monitoring closely the impact of the shutdown on organic producers and handlers,” Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association, commented to the source. “The longer it goes on the more likely the impact reverberates out to the consumer and the integrity of the seal.”
This isn’t the first time a federal stalemate has affected organic operations.
“The shutdown had a major impact on the overall accomplishments of Obama’s USDA. Not so obvious from the outside, but the continuity of progress was badly interrupted. The immediate, daily impact of the shutdown lasted for weeks more than the actual time without appropriations, and many things were altered for the worse,” Mark Lipson, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Policy Adviser at USDA during the last prolonged shutdown, told Organic Matters. “For the NOP, the most obvious thing was cancelling an NOSB meeting. Of course, this was very disruptive and added to the cascade of challenges for NOP. During my time in the administration, the windows for really accomplishing change, when all the pieces were lined up, did not last very long. Without a doubt, the 2013 shutdown closed some of those windows altogether.”
As of last Saturday, January 12, this is the longest shutdown to have ever taken place for the U.S. For us here at AndNowUKnow, we hope for the sake of organics and all others being affected, our next report is that a resolution has been reached and the government is back in business.