The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to mainstream organic fruits and vegetables with a plan to track imports and exports of some organic produce.

The USDA has not released which commodities will be included under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule starting Jan. 1. Statistics will be available on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s website, http://tinyurl.com/organic-stats.

“This decision will support the development of more international trade and the work of the National Organic Program to ensure compliance with U.S. organic standards,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release.

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by organic advocates.

“We have long sought this,” said Barbara Haumann, spokeswoman for the Greenfield, Mass.-based Organic Trade Association. “This is going to be very valuable.”

Haumann said Oct. 21 the statistics can help gauge the market and trends in organic food production. “All the time people (are) asking, how much, what value of organic is imported but there was no way to track it,” she said.

Canada was the first country to establish organic import and export statistics in early 2009, she said.