Suit Against USDA Organic Rule Action Moves Forward

March 7, 2019

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) suit against the USDA’s withdrawal of its rule on organic livestock and poultry practices can proceed to trial, a district court judge wrote in a February 27 ruling.  U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer dismissed one count of OTA’s complaint but said the others could proceed. OTA has alleged that:

  • USDA violated the law by delaying the final organic rule several times without adequate public notice and comment;
  • USDA acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” way when it withdrew the final rule because it acted without “sufficient reason or explanation for reversing course;” and
  • USDA failed to consult with the National Organic Standards Board when it withdrew the final rule.

The judge dismissed the first count but declined to dismiss the other two. That does not mean OTA will necessarily win on either count, only that the judge refused the government’s request to dismiss the counts without trial.