Assembly Bill 856 Returned

California’s Assembly Bill 856 has been sent back for review. The bill increases penalties for violations of organic fertilizer standards, expands the state regulator’s inspection authority and raises fees for enforcement by $416,000 annually.
Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) introduced the bill following a number of violations across the country. One major factor was the now famous case, “The Bee Investigation” that found a Salinas-area farm was selling “organic fertilizer” that was topped with nitrogen. This practice is banned in organic farming, not because it is harmful, but because it is generated by creating a lot of energy. Although the practice is highly against organic standards, California Liquid Fertilizer was forced to pull the product and was not penalized.
Government officials feel penalties would prevent this from happening again. In February the Department of Food and Agriculture supported AB 856 that changed the standards for organic fertilizers. This issue is important in California because 60 percent of organic acres are in California.
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