Food producers follow important safety rules that protect consumers from illness, yet many organic farmers face insurmountable financial barriers and obstacles in meeting food safety requirements and the USDA National Organic Program standards.
These regulatory requirements often contradict other crucial organic farming principles, and because of this, compliance with food safety regulations is one of the greatest challenges facing organic farming today, creating hardships for farmers to maintain their organic certification. According to a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service 2019 Organic Survey, regulatory problems were identified as the most significant challenge for farmers.
The goal of this project is to reduce the burden of compliance with multiple regulations by equipping organic farmers and industry stakeholders with cost-effective and organic-compliant solutions for wildlife intrusion, microbial field testing and sanitizers, and practical policies that empower growers to comply with important food safety best practices and retain their organic certification.
Tools Organic Farmers Need to Meet Food Safety Requirements: Learnings from a National Needs Assessment
The Organic Center in partnership with Dr. Patrick Baur from The University of Rhode Island (URI) presented in this recorded webinar the results from a national survey, including farmer-focused listening sessions, to identify opportunities for cost-effective and organic-compliant tools for navigating food safety risks and third-party certification. Survey results revealed the time, cost, and organizational challenges impacting organic producers on a national level, and which food safety requirements are most difficult to synchronize with USDA’s NOP standards. Dr. Amber Sciligo of The Organic Center & Dr. Baur discussed their research findings and next steps for this pivotal work with a diverse audience, from farmers to federal and state agencies, extension, academics, and industry.