Thanks Jim VERY MUCH for this clarification. "Funny" that someone who is promoting them as "sustainable" never mentioned that to me!! And your right, you do have to read very carefully, between the lines. I sent it as an FYI of what it is, not promoting it as with all info that I send. A few organic farmers had heard of this organization and wondered what it was all about. But I did miss that GMO feed for animals is allowed.  Thus, I humbly retract that this program certification (Food Alliance) is close to organic. It sounds to me it is offering a "some certification" labeling for consumers while allowing GMO feeds! 

This is a very important clarification that you have provided.   Now, when folks see the Food Alliance label they will now know that it allows animals to be fed with GMO grains.


Vicki Morrone

Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resrouces Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)



From: Jim Moses [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 1:19 PM
To: Vicki Morrone; [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: FW: Organic News for week of May 22 part III of 3 parts


To whom it may concern--


     Re. Food Alliance Certification:  Flashy brocheres from this group were promoted by a local non-profit several months ago.  The old rural rule of  "Be careful who you are dancing with" applies.  Looking past the carefully worded claims, one finds the following to be true.

     GMO feed for lifestock is not prohibited.  Go back and read it again, it is GM livestock that are prohibited.

     Assess the claim of no hormones, no antibiotics in the light of the fact that cattle can be bought in at up to 500#s from any source.


     Seems like a great group to join if you feel you need to decieve those seeking "clean food" by delivering something less all wrapped in a package of deceptive claims.


Cranky Farmer

Vicki Morrone <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


	Part 3 of 3 parts for Week of May 22



	General Description of the Food Alliance Certification Program and Standard:

	General Description of Standards


	This is an organization that is attempting to create an alternative market from organic. It has created standards that are IPM focused, combined with environmental aspects and fair human labor conditions. It is seeking markets to demand this certification and offering a labeling service to growers. Please read on if you find this intriguing. For a complete version of this info please go to: 



	General Description of the Certification System


	Food Alliance standards provide a systematic measure of environmentally and socially responsible management practices for participating farms and ranches. In general terms, these standards are the scientific and technical foundation on which the Food Alliance certified label is built. Also called the certification seal, the Food Alliance certified label is a visual aid businesses can use to identify foods produced in environmentally and socially responsible ways. 


	Certification Standards

	Food Alliance standards measure the degree to which farm/ranch management adheres to each of the Food Alliance's guiding principles as expressed in the fixed and scored standards found in this document.  


	Food Alliance administers its evaluation system through use of independent, third-party site inspectors, who conduct the actual on-site evaluations. During a Food Alliance inspection, site inspectors interview farmers/ranchers and workers, tour facilities and fields, and analyze records. The evaluation has three main goals: 


	1.	Verify an operation's fulfillment of Food Alliance's fixed standards. 

	2.	Verify an operation's fulfillment of Food Alliance's scored standards.

	3.	Provide notes to Food Alliance staff concerning innovative and otherwise noteworthy actions taken by applicants. 


	Fixed standards 

	Fixed standards provide the first level of screening for acceptance into the Food Alliance certification program.  As all fixed standards must be adhered to, certification is not an option for operations that are not in compliance with the following:


	1.     No use of genetically modified seed varieties or livestock breeds.

	2.     No use of hormones or feed additive (sub therapeutic) antibiotics in livestock production.

	3.      Continual improvement of management and production practices.

	4.      No use of high toxicity pesticides included on prohibited list (See Page 16 )



Organic growers already comply with these "Fixed standards."

	These fixed standards are described in detail on page 15.


	Scored standards

	Whole Farm Standards:  Applicants must score an average of level 3.0 (out of 4) in a set of evaluation criteria in each of the following four subject areas:  


	1.      Reduction of pesticide usage 

	2.      Soil and water conservation

	3.      Safe and fair working conditions  This is probably the only "Scored Standard" an organic grower may need to address.

	4.      Wildlife habitat conservation 


	Crop-specific Standards: Crop-specific standards also consist of scored evaluation criteria, but relate more specifically to the cultural practices, crop nutrition, and insect/disease/weed management on the particular crops for which an applicant is interested in seeking Food Alliance certification.  


	Whole Farm and Crop Specific scored standards are described in detail in the subsequent sections of this document. 


	The Certification Process 

	The certification process begins when Food Alliance receives a completed application packet from a new or renewing applicant. At that time Food Alliance staff review the application packet for completeness, ensuring that: all questions are answered; all required signatures are made; the application fee is paid; and all supporting documents are present. 


	If all items are present, Food Alliance will send your application onto an independent site inspector who will contact you to set up an on-site inspection date.  During the site inspection, the site inspector will interview the managers and workers, tour the fields and facilities, and look through all employment and production records relevant to the standards. 


	After the site visit, the site inspector submits a report to Food Alliance detailing findings based on the certification criteria set by Food Alliance. Site inspectors use forms created by Food Alliance to guide the inspection process and for reporting (for more about site inspectors, see qualifications below).  


	Once Food Alliance receives the inspection documents from the site inspector, the applicant is sent a letter regarding the status of their application for Food Alliance certification. This letter is accompanied by an official site report, detailing the scores the applicant received in each of the evaluation criteria. 


	Grievance Policy

	If applicants feel that the site inspector's findings are unfair or inaccurate, they may submit a request for re-evaluation to Food Alliance. A request must be made in writing within 30 days of receiving the official site report, detailing the perceived inaccuracies of the site inspection. Applicants should also state whether or not they would like to be inspected by a different site inspector. Re-inspections of this nature will be provided at no cost to the applicant. No further appeals will be accepted, however, an applicant may reapply after they have made changes to their operation as suggested in their site report. 


	Term of the Certification 

	If an operation passes inspection, the term of certification is three years from the official start date. The official start date will be stated in the certification letter along with the products that may be labeled as Food Alliance certified.


	Ongoing Compliance and Verification

	Food Alliance certification is not intended to duplicate or otherwise supplant local, regional, or federal laws, many of which are dedicated to the same sorts of issues as this certification program. Instead, this certification is designed to provide a basis for a promotional campaign intended to reward farmers and ranchers for their exemplary efforts.  In order to ensure the certification criteria are being met at all times, several verification and compliance activities occur:


	Annual Reporting: Each year, certified farmers and ranchers must file an "Annual Update," detailing how they have fulfilled the guiding principles and achieved their continual improvement goals (as expressed in writing in the Food Alliance application). If a participant either does not complete, submits an incomplete, or falsifies an Annual Update, their certification can be suspended. 


	Un-announced visits: Each year Food Alliance conducts un-announced visits on 3% of participating farms and ranches. Operations are either selected at random for unannounced visits or they are selected based on areas of concern (with regard to specific standards) first identified in the initial inspection process. 


	Suspension and Revocation: If in the course of an unannounced site visit, or in the Annual Update report (see above), it becomes clear that a participant is not adhering to the standards, Food Alliance staff will investigate the situation further. If further investigation demonstrates that the participant is not operating in a manner consistent with Food Alliance certification standards, their certification will be suspended.

	The participant is given a timeline to address the conditions of the suspension. If they choose to remedy the violation within the timeframe, their certification will be restored. The certification will be revoked if the violation is not remedied.


	Food Alliance certification for farms and ranches involves a single annual fee.   This fee reflects the direct costs associated with processing applications, administering the site inspection and issuing an inspection report, as well as a portion of indirect costs for development and administration of the certification program, creation and refinement of standards, and recruitment of retail partners seeking Food Alliance certified products.  


	All fees for participation are paid directly to Food Alliance. Applicants never pay fees to site inspectors. The fee is paid annually on a sliding scale based on gross sales of Food Alliance certified products (see table below). The first year fee is based on estimated sales. Subsequent year fees are based on the previous year sales.  $400 is payable at the time of application and is non-refundable.  The balance for year one is invoiced upon completion of the inspection and mailing of the inspection report, payable in 30 days.  After the initial year, Food Alliance will invoice the grower annually on the date of the original certification.  Certification is valid for 3 years.  Certified producers may opt out of the program prior to the end of the three year certification only after a total of $1200 has been paid to Food Alliance (the minimum payment allowable over three years).


Food Alliance Producer Certification

Fee Schedule: Independent Producers



Annual Certification Fee

Annual Certification Fee includes Inspection Fee, which is applied evenly over three year term of certification



0.5% on first $175,000 or $400 (whichever is greater)

0.25% on sales between $175-$300,000

0.10% on sales between $300-$500,000

0.05% on sales over $500,000




<> <> <> Organic2006 

For many more insights into the World of Organics, explore our new report: Organic2006: Consumer Attitudes & Behavior, Five Years Later & Into the Future.   click for moreğ <>  


	Wednesday May 31, 2006 @ 12:00 pm
	A279 Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg.

	Dr. Weibel is the head of the research and advisory activities in fruit, berry and vine growing of FiBL ( <> ). Dr. Weibels research is in variety and rootstock testing for organic fruit growing (apple and cherry); development and evaluation of marketing concepts to introduce new (organic) apple varieties; weed control and soil management concepts; tree nutrition concepts; fruit thinning concepts; quality assessment with emphasis on health related components; testing suitability of holistic methods of quality assessment; system comparison trials organic/conventional; projects on soil fertility with microbial and physical  aspects in organic fruit and vine growing. 
	Major Accomplishments: 
	Science based practical recommendations for the site and situation adapted use of herbicide free weed control methods. Development of a sensor device and software to measure accurately real-time sap flow (transpiration) of apple trees growing in the field. Science based recommendations for variety choice in organic fruit production. Creation, introduction and evaluation of a new marketing concept to introduce unknown (scab resistant) apple varieties in a Supermarket chain. This Taste-Groups-Conceptis now successfully introduced at the two dominating supermarket chains of Switzerland, even for conventional fruit. Creation and testing of new weed control concepts (Sandwich System) for non-chemical weed control in tree strips. Author of a scientifically acknowledged study to compare conventional and organic apple quality including holistic methods (resulting also in method improvements). 
	 Initiation of a national now smoothly co-operating interdisciplinary scientific and advisory network to solve flexibly and efficiently the various problems of organic fruit growing. Member of multinational research groups for EU-project grants. Initiator and presently chair of the "European Group of Researchers in Organic Fruit" EUGROF; Vice-President of the Working Group of Organic Fruit of ISHS.
	 Creation of and assistance for seven regional rings of organic fruit growers in Switzerland to increase knowledge transfer and professionalization. Co-author and author of six technical leaflets on the basic techniques etc. of organic fruit growing. Frequent articles in grower magazines; different book chapters; regularly courses (theory and practical training) for growers, university and professional students etc.



	Vicki Morrone

	Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

	Michigan State University

	C.S. Mott Sustainable Food Systems

	303 Natural Resrouces Bldg.

	East Lansing, MI 48824


	517-282-3557 (cell)

	517-353-3834 (fax)


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