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No 'organic' label for some foods

Bombarded with a record 150ꯠ comments to its organic labeling proposal, most of them critical, the U.S. Department of Agriculture apparently will rule that genetically engineered and irradiated foods, and crops fertilized with sewage sludge, may not be labeled "organic." Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman had received letters from members of Congress criticizing the organic labeling proposal.

Still, it's not enough to satisfy the organic foods industry, which continues to demand the rule be rewritten. Representatives of organic food marketers said they have begun to create an alternative, independent national system for certifying organic farms and foods, whose standards would be stricter than those proposed by USDA. Glickman promised "significant modifications" to the final rule and said there would be another opportunity for comment before the rule received final approval, hopefully by the end of the year. He acknowledged the proposed rule was flawed but said it was issued in hopes of moving along the process. Congress first called for organic labeling standards in 1990.

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