OPN Connect Newsletter 2 · March 9, 2017

Organic Week in Brief: Five Need-to-Knows

Mexican Local Markets Create Participatory Organic Certification System

Because selling to the domestic market in Mexico can’t make up for the cost of certification, 85 percent of organically grown products are exported.  About 98 percent of organic growers in Mexico farm less than 32 hectares of land (79 acres).  Most organic farmers are indigenous. 

Nature Safe

To make organic certification affordable for smaller local farmers, a network called Tianguis y Mercados Organicos has created a certification body made up of growers and experts in their community.  The Mexican government officially recognized the participatory system of certification as eligible to carry the organic label domestically.  This system is also endorsed by IFOAM – Organic International, a leading certification and advocacy organization internationally. 

NOP Provides Annual Training for USDA-Accredited Organic Certifiers

National Organic Program (NOP) staff presented training to USDA-accredited organic certifiers in Portland, Oregon, last month. The annual training provides critical information, updates, and reminders to certifiers.  Over 200 certifier staff and other industry partners attended the event.  If you missed it, you can view the slides and modules on the website.

Organic Ag Products

April 19 New Deadline for Comments to USDA on Eleven Substances to be Excluded from Organic National List

If you’re growing or handling organic and use one of the eleven substances scheduled to be taken off the National List for exempted soon, your opportunity to comment to USDA has been extended to April 19.  Don’t forget that every five years, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) holds a “Sunset Review” of the list.  The list usually changes every five years so you need to check it twice.

If you use any of the following: lignin sulfonate, furosemide, magnesium carbonate, Chia, dillweed oil, frozen galangal, inulin, frozen lemongrass, chipotle chile peppers, turkish bay leaves, and whey protein concentrate, you may need to find alternatives.  The National List is considered the last tool in the organic toolbox and provides organic growers and handlers the ability to use non-organic substances as a last resort when other options don’t exist.  

Ocean Mist

Comments should be submitted online at   For more information, contact Robert Pooler, Standards Division, email: or phone: (202) 720-3252.

Sprout Foods New Organic Baby Purees and Snacks for Toddlers

Healthy babies can now enjoy a line of Stage 3 plant-based organic protein purees and their toddler siblings can snack on “curlz” made from organic chickpeas and lentils.  Sprout Foods, based in Montvale, NJ, founded in 2008, and introduced the first organic toddler puree called “Power Pack”.  Positioned as a way to ensure that babies and toddlers get the vegetables they need, the new purees have three grams of protein and two grams of fiber.  The Power Pack puree also contains a full serving of fruit and omega-3 from chia.  The organic “curlz” contain no added or artificial flavors, preservatives, concentrates or sugars and come in broccoli, white cheddar, sweet potato and cinnamon flavors.

Blue Apron Enhances Its Commitment to Organic

Matt Salzberg, co-founder and CEO of Blue Apron, added two new directors to the Blue Apron board:  Gary Hirshberg, Chairman and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, and Tracy Britt Cool, Chief Executive Officer of Pampered Chef. 

"Gary and Tracy both have a thorough understanding of our opportunity to build a better food system, and their counsel and oversight will be invaluable as we continue to grow," said Salzberg, "Gary is a pioneer in environmental sustainability and organic agriculture and will provide critical strategic guidance as we continue to develop our farm sourcing and innovation programs and implement initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint.

"After 33 years of leading and growing Stonyfield Farm, I want to dedicate my time to other exciting and emerging companies that are closing the gap between consumers and the source of their food," Hirshberg said.


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