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Washington Moves to Take the GMO out of Organic

(17 July - Cropchoice News) -- Ag officials in Washington State are moving to update state organic standards. Included in the proposal, which updates organic certification standards in place since 1988, is a prohibition on GMOs in organic agriculture. Miles McEvoy of the state Department of Agriculture told ENS that "The proposed changes will enhance acceptance of Washington's organic products in domestic and international markets and promote our national leadership in organic agriculture."

The proposed changes in the Washington standard would bring it in line with other organic producers and certifiers, who already don't use or prohibit GMOs. The pending USDA national standards, however, leave the door open to GMOs in organic agriculture by making the final decision dependent on future USDA action.

In 1998, organic farms in Washington produced $70 million in or. The industry is growing by 20-30% per year. Washington also certifies organic food processors and handlers. Washington officials are conducting a hearing today on the proposed changes and will accept comments through July 17th.

Visit the Washington State organic ceritification program online at: http://www.wa.gov/agr/fsah/organic/ofp.htm

SOURCE: Washington Department of Agriculture, Environment News Service