American Journal of Law & Medicine

Federal Organic Foods Production Act does not preempt state claims that are unrelated to organic producer certification process - In re Aurora Dairy Corp. Organic Milk Mktg. and Sales Litig.

Federal Organic Foods Production Act Does Not Preempt State Claims that Are Unrelated to Organic Producer Certification Process--In re Aurora Dairy Corp. Organic Milk Mktg. and Sales Litig. (1)--The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a federal statute, (2) which establishes uniform certification and accreditation rules for organic foods producers and certifying agents, preempts only those state consumer law claims that specifically challenge the federal organic foods certification process. (3)

Congress enacted the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) in order "(1) to establish national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products; (2) to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard; and (3) to facilitate interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced." (4) The OFPA specifies that "'a person may sell or label an agricultural product as organically produced only if such product is produced and handled in accordance with' the OFPA." (5) It requires producers marketing agricultural products as "100% organic," "organic," or "made with organic" ingredients to obtain United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification or face a $10,000 fine. (6)

The National Organic Program (NOP), (7) the USDA-drafted regulation implementing the OFPA, establishes the requirements for the certification of organic foods producers, as well as the process for accrediting the certifying agents who inspect the producers and make recommendations to the USDA. (8) Defendant QAI, Inc. ("QAI") was the accredited certifying agent that certified defendant Aurora Dairy Corporation ("Aurora") to produce organic milk. …

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