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History of Organic Food in the U.S.: A Chronology
Apr 9, 2002

Inspired by Sir Albert Howard, the "father of organic farming,"
Walnut Acres begins producing organic foods and becomes the country's
first organic food brand.

In 1962, Rachel Carson publishes her ground-breaking book "Silent
Spring" which poetically details the impact of synthetic insecticides
on nature. Interest in organic agriculture grows.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is among
the first organizations to establish organic certification guidelines.
By the end of the decade, more than 30 independent groups have
developed their own individual certification standards.

Annual sales of organic products in 1980 in the U.S. total less
than $1 million. In 1988, the California State Department of Agriculture
becomes the first state to legislate standards for organic farming,
production and marketing.

The organic industry lobbies Congress for national organic certification
standards to address the variances in organic commerce. The Organic
Foods Production Bill is introduced and passed as part of the
Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act. The Organic Foods
Production Act mandates that a national organic standard be developed.

The National Organic Standard Board is created to define national
standards for organic certification.

U.S. sales of organic products reach more than $1 billion. 1994
The USDA holds four public hearings to obtain feedback from all
segments of the organic community as it develops national organic

The USDA proposes and publishes the National Organic Program (NOP),
a rule detailing organic production, handling and labeling requirements
as an Amendment to the Organic Foods Production Act.

Sales of organic food products in the United States reach $8 billion.

March 2000
After receiving more than 275,000 public comments over three years,
the NOP is revised and published a second time.

December 2000
The NOP is signed into law, requiring all agricultural products
sold, labeled or represented as organic to be in full compliance
by October 21, 2002.

July 2001
A survey of Americans reveals that organic foods and beverages
will be a major food trend in the new millennium. Among the findings:
75 percent say that national organic labeling gives them "more
confidence" in organic foods and beverages.

October 21, 2002
Any product containing more than 95 percent certified organic
content may carry the "USDA Organic" label. Products that contain
between 70 and 95 percent certified organic content may
use the words "made with organic ingredients" on their label.
Products with less than 70 percent certified organic content
are restricted to using the word "organic" only on the ingredient
information panel. In addition, the word "organic" is prohibited
from use on any product label that does not meet NOP standards.

Media Contacts:
Beth Corwin, PT&Co. (212) 229-0500
Michael Neuwirth, Acirca (914) 380-8020

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Did Walnut Acres used to make other products?
Yes. However, to focus on producing only certified organic foods and beverages and to make them more widely available, the...

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