GMO Labeling Bill

July 23, 2016 at 2:45 PM


apples for fb


The new GMO labeling bill passed last week has both sides of the issue grumbling. The bill was a response to Vermont’s GMO labeling law in an effort to have a nationwide standard. The measure says that within a few years foods with genetically engineered ingredients will be “labeled.” It’s that labeled part that gets tricky.

According to a New York Times story, companies have several choices for labeling:

  • They can add text to a label stating that it contains genetically engineered ingredients
  • Put a symbol (yet to be determined) on packaging to denote such ingredients
  • Or use a digital link like a QR code that consumers can scan with their smartphone

That QR code part upsets groups that have rallied for direct labeling on the product. On the other side, anti-GMO label organizations aren’t happy with any labeling at all. “I don’t think it’s the best bill we could have, but it’s the best bill we could pass,” Delaware farmer Richard Wilkins told NPR. He’s also the president of the American Soybean Association.

According to the NPR story, the Organic Trade Association opted to support the compromise because “the law includes some special benefits for the organic industry. It includes, for instance, a provision that allows organic food companies to label their products as non-GMO.”



Federal Funds Available to Help Pay For Organic Certification Fees

July 21, 2016 at 2:08 PM

SACRAMENTO, June 29, 2016 – The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of $2,180,870 for organic certification assistance to organic operations in California. Funds from the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) are available through CDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) to help more organic operations succeed and take advantage of economic opportunities in this growing market.

Cost Share helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75 percent or $750 of their certification fees. Cost Share funds are available to any eligible organic operation in California that has received or renewed organic certification between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.

The SOP administers the Cost Share program in California, and is responsible for reviewing and approving cost share applications. The SOP then works with the State Controller’s Office to process funds for the issuance of reimbursement checks to the organic operations. In addition, the SOP collaborates with accredited certifying agents to ensure that cost share resources are available to their clients and information is posted on their respective certifier websites.

The deadline for submitting Cost Share applications to CDFA is October 31, 2016. Applications must be postmarked by this date.

The following are needed to complete a Cost Share application:

• A copy of an organic certification document.
• Copies of all associated organic certification and inspection expense receipts.
– Please contact a certifier if you do not have the above documents.
• Completed and signed CDFA Cost Share Application. The applications can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to CDFA.
• Completed Payee Data Record (STD. 204) form. (Name on this form must match the name on the Cost Share application).

To apply, go to the CDFA website, and download the Cost Share application packet/documents. Send the completed, signed application to CDFA with all supporting documentation listed above.

Applications are approved on a “first received, first approved” basis. Incomplete applications will be returned and the application process will need to be started again.

Applications must be sent to CDFA. Do not send the application to your certifier. Mail applications to:

California Department of Food and Agriculture
State Organic Program
Cost Share Reimbursement
ATTN: Sharon Parsons
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please allow 6-8 weeks for the completion of the Cost Share process. For additional information or assistance, please contact Sharon Parsons at (916) 900-5202 or by email at

CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards Weighs In

July 21, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Before you purchase a scale to weigh your medical cannabis; please read this important notice.

Did you know that all scales used for commercial cannabis measurement must meet strict standards for accuracy? Scales must be approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards (DMS), and be issued either an Evaluation Program Certificate of Approval or an Evaluation Program Certificate of Conformance before you can use the scale for commercial measurement.

The DMS recommends a Class II scale for use by medical cannabis cultivators. This type of scale is ten times more accurate that the scales used in most retail food stores. To ensure accurate labeling and to protect your bottom line; contact your local county Agricultural Commissioner’s Weights and Measures Office using the link: They can help make sure that the scale you purchase is state approved and appropriate for your business needs.

For more detailed information, check out the DMS‘s booklet regarding Weights and Measures Regulations for the Cannabis Industry at:…/MedicalCannabisRegulatoryRequirem…

Additional note: Use extreme caution if buying a scale online. Companies in other states or foreign countries may not understand or conform to California state and local requirements. For tips on buying scales online, you can review valuable information from the National Conference on Weights and Measures Buying Scales Fact Sheet.

Please be aware: Your scale will be inspected by either a State or county inspector! So spend a few minutes up front making sure your scale meets state accuracy standards; otherwise your business may be “out-of-order” while your device is repaired or modified for compliance.

You can visit the DMS website for additional information