The Regulator, the Target, and the Intermediary

A Comprehensive Look at the Regulation of Organic Food in the United States


  • Sarah J. Morath Wake Forest School of Law



USDA Organic, Regulation, Organic Farming, National Organic Program, Certification


First paragraph:

In Regulation by Proxy: How the USDA Relies on Public, Nonprofit, and For-Profit Intermediaries to Oversee Organic Food in the U.S., Dr. David P. Carter, assistant professor of political science at the Uni­versity of Utah, provides a comprehensive analysis of organic food regulation in the United States. The regulation of organic food is complex, and, as the book title suggests, organic regulation involves many actors with various roles. Although the federal government, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), plays a role in organic certification, “the regulatory arrangement is not as simple as a regu­lator . . . regulating an industry activity . . .” (p. 7). Instead, The National Organic Program (NOP), a regulatory entity housed under the USDA’s Agri­cultural Marketing Service, relies on “an assortment of ‘regulatory intermediaries’” (p. 7) independent from the NOP to develop and enforce uniform national standards for organically produced agricul­tural products sold in the United States. As a result, the regulation of the USDA organic standard is “decentralized” such that organic food is regulated by proxy. . . .


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Author Biography

Sarah J. Morath, Wake Forest School of Law

Associate Professor

Cover of "Regulation by Proxy"



How to Cite

Morath, S. (2020). The Regulator, the Target, and the Intermediary: A Comprehensive Look at the Regulation of Organic Food in the United States. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(4), 339–341.