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Tales of the Red Tape #15: More Regulatory Manure from USDA
Posted By Diane Katz On July 6, 2011 @ 1:15 pm In Enterprise and Free Markets | 3 Comments
Effective May 9, the use of compost in the production of certified organic foods must comply with precise temperature, moisture, and chemical standards set  by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And it took the agency only nine years to finalize the rules.
USDA claims this particular regulatory authority in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 , the purpose of which is “to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”
How did we ever get along without it?
Consequently, compost used in food that is labeled “organic” must originate from a plant and animal stew that reached a temperature between 131° F and 170° F for a minimum of three days using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system or a temperature of 131° F and 170° F for 15 days using a windrow composting system, during which period the materials must be turned a minimum of five times. Oh, and a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio between 25:1 and 40:1.
There’s an entirely different set of rules for vermicompost—i.e., worms. (You don’t want to know the details.)
The new compost standards, according to officials, represent the “current thinking” of the National Organic Program. Which means some future thinking may require a change in standards.
Meanwhile, states have issued their own rules, too, making organic food anything but pure and simple.
Want to read more Tales of the Red Tape? Check out these stories below:
#1: We See Dead People 
#2: The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense 
#3: Don’t Touch That Dial! 
#6: Equine Equality Under the ADA 
#11: Circumcising Principle in San Francisco 
#12: Regulatory Grapes of Wrath 
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/07/06/tales-of-the-red-tape-15-more-regulatory-manure-from-usda/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/compost-manure-farm-worker.jpg
 set: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=page&page=26177&dbname=2011_register
 Organic Foods Production Act of 1990: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5060370&acct=nopgeninfo
 We See Dead People: http://www.foundry.org/2011/02/22/tales-of-the-red-tape-we-see-dead-people
 The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/15/the-epa-is-fueling-nonsense
 Don’t Touch That Dial!: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/23/tales-of-the-red-tape-dont-touch-that-dial
 The Unwitting Peddlers of Toxic Tomes: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/30/tales-of-the-red-tape-4-the-unwitting-peddlers-of-toxic-tomes
 Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/06/tales-of-the-red-tape-5-calorie-counts-forced-down-our-throats
 Equine Equality Under the ADA: http://www.foundry.org/?p=57075
 Energy Department Plumbing for More Regulatory Powers: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/21/energy-department-plumbing-for-more-regulatory-powers
 How Many Hazmat Suits Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/26/tales-of-the-red-tape-8-how-many-hazmat-suits-does-it-take-to-change-a-light-bulb
 Regulators Going Off on Microwave Ovens: http://www.foundry.org/?p=58680
 The State Department’s Passport Inquisition: http://www.foundry.org/2011/05/13/tales-of-the-red-tape-10-the-state-department%e2%80%99s-passport-inquisition/
 Circumcising Principle in San Francisco: http://www.foundry.org/2011/05/23/tales-of-the-red-tape-11-circumcising-principle-in-san-francisco
 Regulatory Grapes of Wrath: http://www.foundry.org/2011/05/31/tales-of-the-red-tape-12-regulatory-grapes-of-wrath
 #13: An “F” for Train Regulation: http://www.foundry.org/2011/06/07/tales-of-the-red-tape-13-an-%e2%80%9cf%e2%80%9d-for-train-regulation/
 #14: Old MacDonald’s Commodity Cartel: http://www.foundry.org/2011/06/22/tales-of-the-red-tape-14-old-macdonald%e2%80%99s-commodity-cartel/
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