U.S – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a review of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) to promote a fairer and more competitive market for organic producers.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes to amend the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling, transport for slaughter and avian living conditions.
It also desires to expand and clarify existing requirements covering livestock care, production practices and mammalian living conditions, thus ensuring that certified USDA livestock products are produced to the same consistent standard.
“This proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards rule demonstrates USDA’s strong commitment to America’s organic producers.
“We encourage producers, processors, and consumers to submit written comments about the rule so that we can work together to create a fairer, more competitive, and transparent food system,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
Moffitt added that the rulemaking is an opportunity to ensure consumers’ expectations align with the enforced organic standards, building trust across the supply chain and leveling the playing field for producers.
“With this proposed rule, USDA is seeking to establish and clarify clear standards for organic livestock and poultry production,” he said.
When finalized, the agency’s National Organic Program (NOP) will oversee the rule’s implementation. In partnership with USDA-accredited certifying agents, NOP’s oversight supports growth of the organic market, including farmers and businesses interested in transitioning to organic.
In the proposed rule, the Livestock health care practices provision will specify which physical alteration procedures are prohibited or restricted for use on organic livestock.
The proposed livestock health care practice standards include requirements for euthanasia to reduce suffering of any sick or disabled livestock.
In terms of living conditions, the proposed rule will set separate standards for mammalian and avian livestock living conditions to better reflect the needs and behaviors of the different species, as well as related consumer expectations.
The proposed mammalian livestock standards will cover both ruminants and swine, where the avian livestock living standards will set maximum indoor and outdoor stocking densities to ensure the birds have sufficient space to engage in natural behaviors.
On slaughter, the rule will add a new section to clarify how organic slaughter facility practices and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations work together to support animal welfare.