Organic Trade Association's Organic Newsroom: Organic Trade Association Files a Motion for a Summary Judgment
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2008 Press Releases


Organic Trade Association Files a Motion for a Summary Judgment

News Release
Contact: Barbara Haumann, 413-774-7511 Ext. 20,
For Immediate Release

Organic Trade Association Files a Motion for a Summary Judgment in its Suit Challenging Ohio’s New Dairy Labeling Rule
OTA seeks dairy labeling rule that represents consumers rights to know how their food is grown

COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 28, 2008) – The Organic Trade Association (OTA), which represents the organic industry in North America, has filed a motion for a summary judgment in its case challenging Ohio’s “emergency” dairy labeling rule.

“Ohio’s rule puts the organic standards at risk and denies consumers their rights to know how their food is grown,” said David Gagnon, OTA’s Interim Executive Director. OTA’s summary judgment motion, which was filed Friday, July 25, argues that consumers have a right to know, and want to know, about the products they purchase, and organic farmers and processors have a right to communicate with their consumers regarding federally regulated organic production practices. The suit seeks to protect consumers’ rights to receive truthful information about how organic milk and dairy products are produced, and the rights of organic dairy farmers and processors to communicate truthfully with consumers.

Under the federally mandated National Organic Standards, the use of hormones to promote growth or increase production, genetically engineered organisms (GMOS), antibiotics and toxic, persistent, synthetic pesticides are all strictly prohibited. The standards also mandate a rigorous system for inspection, certification and verification of organic practices, which protects consumers. OTA’s suit also maintains that Ohio’s dairy labeling rule chooses to ignore the federal Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) as it prohibits states from regulating organic product labeling.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has until August 15 to file its opposition to the motion. The Organic Trade Association could then file a reply memorandum by August 29. Depositions of Ohio’s Department of Agriculture Director Robert J. Boggs and his assistant are tentatively scheduled for the week of August 18. The International Dairy Foods Association,, has also been filed a similar summary judgment motion.

Joining OTA in its opposition to Ohio’s rule is The Center for Food Safety (CFS), which has filed an amicus brief. A non-profit whose mission is to address the environmental, economic, ethical, human health, and social impacts associated with the development and commercialization of agricultural and food processing technologies, CFS has long opposed synthetic growth hormone use.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. Its more than 1,700 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.