OIG Releases "No Findings" Audit Report
"In summary, we determined that AMS has adequate management controls in place for administering the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. We did not identify any significant reportable issues and, as such, are not making any recommendations." - Office of Inspector General Audit Report, page 3
On July 20, 2012 the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a "No Findings" audit report on the National List. This audit revealed that:
- National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) appointments meet statutory requirements.
- Petitions sent to the NOSB for review are complete and meet eligibility criteria.
- NOSB follows policies and procedures when reviewing petitioned substances.
- NOP and NOSB follow the mandatory "Sunset" processes to renew, remove, or change existing listings every five years.
"In summary, we determined that AMS has adequate management controls in place for administering the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. We did not identify any significant reportable issues and, as such, are not making any recommendations."
- Office of Inspector General Audit Report, page 3
This report affirms the vital role of the NOSB in developing and maintaining the National List with both openness and integrity. The Board's recommendations are based on careful evaluation, sound science, and public input. The report reaffirmed that the selection process used by USDA to appoint NOSB members produced a properly balanced Board for the specific positions on the NOSB. USDA strives to appoint members to the Board that reflect the diversity of the U.S. organic agriculture and the American people.
The National List is a living part of the USDA organic regulations. The Board uses a well-defined set of objective criteria in evaluating substances petitioned for addition to the National List. These criteria include determining that the substance is not harmful to human health or the environment, is necessary in organic production and handling, and is consistent with organic farming and handling principles. Public comment opportunities, both during Board evaluation and during subsequent rulemaking by the NOP, support openness and transparency - core to the principles of organic agriculture.
The OIG is an important source of feedback to the NOP. An OIG audit of NOP in early 2010 provided findings that led to fundamental improvements across the program's processes. Part 1 of the Organic Milk audit earlier this year provided valuable feedback as well, and the NOP is currently implementing recommendations from that audit.
The NOP thanks the OIG for helping protect the integrity of USDA organic products.