Standards and Regulations

OF was still hampered by lack of clarity: consumers were not always sure what was really covered by OF, and the restrictions it implied. Adopting formal rules was the best way to give OF credibility in the quality products' niche market. For example, the European Community adopted a legal framework in the early 1990s.

In 1998, IFOAM adopted basic standards for OF and processing. IFOAM, which was set up in Versailles (France) in 1972, brought together organizations from all over the world which are involved in organic production, the certification of products, research, education, and the promotion of OF. In 1999, the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted (in European Union) 'Guidelines for Production, Processing, Labelling, and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods'. These guidelines set out the principles of organic production from the farming stage through the preparation, storage, transport, labeling, and marketing of crop and animal products. In 1999, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) also embarked on an OF work program. Other countries (such as Argentina, Australia, Canada, the United States, Israel, Japan, and Switzerland) have also adopted their own specific OF legislation. For example, in the United States, the National Organic Program (NOP) is the federal regulatory framework governing organic food. It was made law in 2002, and is administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). It covers in detail all aspects of food production, processing, delivery, and retail sale.

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