US Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to rescind directives made in April 2004 that opponents said weakened organic standards.

On 28 April 28 it was announced that, under a change to the US organics standards, some pesticides, animal drugs, growth hormones and antibiotics would be allowed on organic farms.

In response to the new directives, many environmental and consumer groups, including the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), launched campaigns to pressure the USDA into reversing the controversial directives.

Veneman’s announcement this week, which surprised many organic groups, effectively rescinded all of the new guidelines and was welcomed by the OCA and other organic and consumer groups.