Organic Food Standards May Toughen
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman strongly implied that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not permit food irradiation, genetic engineering and the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer in organic foods. Those practices have met a flood of criticism since December, when the agency proposed national standards for the booming organic food industry. In an interview, Glickman said the public comment period for the rules will not end until April 30. However, he said there will be substantial revision in the proposed rules. “I cannot tell you what we’re going to do but . . . it’s probably a fair assumption that they will not be rules the industry will fight.” He said the department still hopes to publish final rules by year-end.