OPS Ed Session Announcement Change Is Coming: Getting Fresh Produce Ready for the New Organic Enforcement Rule

(Monterey, CA) Designed to increase the oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sales of organic products throughout the supply chain, the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule is set to take effect in March 2024. The effects of this new rule will be felt by the entirety of the organic fresh produce supply chain.

The second announced educational session at Organic Produce Summit 2023, “Change Is Coming: Getting Fresh Produce Ready for the New Organic Enforcement Rule,” will explore what the updated regulations mean for companies involved with organic fresh produce. The session will feature leadership from a major international grower/shipper, a well-known wholesaler/distributor, and a progressive retailer sharing what the changes will mean for their businesses. It will be led by one of the foremost authorities on organic regulatory issues. 

“Fresh produce accounts for over a third of total organic sales. Organic produce is often the entry point for consumers new to organic and where consumer trust in the organic label is established,” said Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association. “These sweeping new rules will strengthen integrity along the entire supply chain and will require some work and adjustments by all of us. OPS attendees will hear from leaders from across the organic produce supply chain about how their operations are getting ready and how to address the most impactful changes before the 2024 implementation.”

Panelists for the session include William (Bill) Brodegard, VP Food Safety & Compliance for Driscoll’s; Brenna Davis, CEO of Organically Grown Company; and Chris Miller, Produce Director for MOM’s Organic Markets. The session will be moderated by Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association’s VP of Regulatory Affairs.

Among the key requirements of the rule are new certification documentation for organic imports and the certification of brokers, handlers, and storage facilities handling unsealed produce. The rule also changes labeling requirements for non-retail packaging and makes on-site inspections more robust and consistent.

The SOE rule is the biggest update to USDA organic regulations since they were first published in 2000, and its aim is to bolster organic integrity and consumer confidence in the USDA organic seal by supporting strong organic control systems, improving farm-to-market traceability, increasing import oversight authority, and providing robust enforcement of organic regulations.

Organic Produce Summit 2023 is a two-day event specifically designed to bring together organic fresh produce growers, shippers, and processors with retailers and buying organizations from across North America. The seventh annual event will be held July 12-13 in Monterey, CA.

The session focused on the new SOE rule is the second of five educational sessions and a pair of keynotes available for attendees. OPS 2023 will also include a selection of field tours for retailers and buyers, a gala opening night reception, and a sold-out trade show floor featuring over 170 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and around the globe. Additionally, several new activities are planned for OPS attendees, including a special cocktail event prior to the opening reception—for those new to the industry or attending their first-ever OPS.

Registration to attend OPS 2023 is available at www.organicproducesummit.com.

About OPS:

The Organic Produce Summit was started in 2016 and is the only event dedicated exclusively to bringing together organic fresh produce growers, shippers and processors with retail and buying organizations from across the globe.