WSR 02-22-088

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed November 5, 2002, 4:45 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 02-16-098.

Title of Rule: Organic food standards and certification.

Purpose: Chapter 16-157 WAC adopts the National Organic Program, establishes a fee structure for organic certification and provides organic certification logos for producers, processors and handlers certified under the chapter. The proposal increases fees for organic certification in order to cover the costs of the program and adopts all sections of the 2001 National Organic Program.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapters 15.86 and 34.05 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 15.86, 34.05 RCW.

Summary: The proposed amendments to chapter 16-157 WAC increases fees for organic certification, establish a fee structure for retail certification, and adopt additional sections of the 2001 National Organic Program so that Washington state organic standards are fully compliant with the National Organic Program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The Washington state legislature amended RCW 15.86.070 to authorize the Department of Agriculture to increase fees in excess of the fiscal growth factor in order to ensure that fees cover the full cost of the organic program. Fees must be increased to cover the cost of certifying organic producers, processors, and handlers.

The additional sections of the National Organic Program must be adopted in order for Washington state to be in compliance with the National Organic Program and continue to provide organic certification services to the organic food industry and enable producers, processors and handlers to maintain access to the organic market.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Miles McEvoy, Olympia, (360) 902-1924.

Name of Proponent: Organic Food Program, Washington State Department of Agriculture, governmental.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, Title 7 C.F.R. Part 205.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Chapter 16-157 WAC, Organic food standards and certification, adopts the National Organic Program and provides certification for producers, processors and handlers wishing to obtain organic certification. The rule sets fees for obtaining certification and provides organic certification logos for those parties certified under the rule. Organic certification is also offered for retail food stores.

The purpose of the rule amendments are to adopt additional sections of the 2001 National Organic Program, increase fees to cover the cost of the program, make some technical corrections to the rule, provide a fee schedule for certification for retail food stores, and repeal sections of the rule that are no longer in compliance with the federal organic standards.

Some new fees are established to cover the costs of services. Fees for certification are increased to cover the costs of providing the service.

The amendments will provide sufficient funding for the Washington State Department of Agriculture organic food program to continue to provide organic certification services.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 02-23 issue of the Register.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 02-23 issue of the Register.

A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Miles McEvoy, Organic Food Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1805, fax (360) 902-2087.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. WSDA is not a listed agency in section 201.

Hearing Location: Natural Resources Building, Room 259, 1111 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, on December 26, 2002, at 1:00 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Julie Carlson by December 19, 2002, TDD (360) 902-1996 or (360) 902-1880.

Submit Written Comments to: Miles McEvoy, Organic Food Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, fax (360) 902-2087, by 5:00 p.m., December 26, 2002.

Date of Intended Adoption: No earlier than January 3, 2003.

November 5, 2002

K. Diane Dolstad

Acting Assistant Director

Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 02-23 issue of the Register.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office