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2008 Press Releases

 

Organic Trade Association Deposes Ohio Department of Agriculture Leaders

News Release
Contact: Laura Batcha, 413-774-7511, Ext. 27, lbatcha@ota.com
For Immediate Release
Organic Trade Association Deposes Ohio Department of Agriculture Leaders

Case Challenging Ohio's New Dairy Labeling Rule Moves Forward
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sept. 17, 2008) - On Sept. 16, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) filed a reply brief in its suit against Ohio's Department of Agriculture (ODA). On June 30, OTA filed suit challenging as unconstitutional Ohio's emergency rule seeking to prevent labeling that tells consumers whether the cows were treated with rbST, the synthetic growth hormone manufactured and sold by Monsanto under the brand Posilac(r).

On July 25, OTA filed a motion for summary judgment asking the Court to rule, as a matter of law, that the emergency rule is unconstitutional. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) filed its opposition brief on Sept. 3. In connection with its motion for summary judgment OTA deposed two ODA executives on Sept.3.

"The Organic Trade Association firmly believes that consumers have a right to know, and want to know, where their food comes from and how it is produced, and organic farmers and processors have a right to communicate with their consumers regarding federally regulated organic production practices," stated David Gagnon, Interim Executive Director for the OTA.

The suit alleges, among other things, that the emergency rule is preempted by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), that consumers want and have a right to know about the products they purchase, and that organic farmers and processors have a right to communicate truthfully to consumers about the federally regulated organic production practices that they follow.

Joining OTA in its opposition to Ohio's rule is the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) (www.idfa.org). IDFA filed a summary judgment motion similar to OTA's and participated in the depositions of the two ODA executives.

Also, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed an amicus brief in support of OTA's position. 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 (www.centerforfoodsafety.org).

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. www.ota.com