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The Chicago Tribune reports that “the Trump administration ruled on Friday that livestock deemed ‘USDA Organic’ need not be treated any more humanely than the animals in conventional farming. The decision reverses years of policy at the USDA, which, through the ‘USDA Organic’ label, dictates what may be sold as ‘organic’ food in the U.S.”

The story says that USDA under the Trump administration is arguing that “the 1990 law creating the ‘USDA Organic’ label does not allow ‘broadly prescriptive, stand-alone animal welfare regulations’ … USDA officials said they were concerned that the proposed rule ‘may hamper market-driven innovation and evolution and impose unnecessary regulatory burdens’.”

One immediate victim of the change in approach, the Tribune writes, “was a proposed rule, more than seven years in gestation, that would have required ‘organic’ egg farms to give hens at least a square foot of space inside as well as access to the outdoors. The rule would have prohibited the large scale ‘organic’ egg farms … in which the birds were kept in barns containing 180,000, at a density of three per square foot of floor space, and never allowed to set foot outside.”
KC's View:
I’m sure the folks at the USDA figured this was a useless regulation that stifled innovation. I guess I wonder if in some circles it will be seen as anti-consumer … because it certainly strikes me as a move that puts the needs of companies ahead of those of shoppers. Which wouldn’t be how I’d play it.

That said, let the organic companies that want to differentiate themselves ignore the government, and create higher standards on their own, driving business with an equally high level of transparency.