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USDA Accepting Comments on Materials Used, Prohibited in Organic Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published today an advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the scheduled expiration of twelve substances allowed or prohibited for use in organic agriculture.

June 1, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published today an  advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the scheduled expiration of twelve substances allowed or prohibited for use in organic agriculture. 

As required by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), a part of the organic regulations, must sunset after five years of listing. Sunset would cease to allow or prohibit these substances in organic production or handling, depending on the substance category.
 
The regulatory allowance or prohibition in organic production and handling of the following 12 substances will expire on   Nov. 3, 2013:
 
Allowed for use in organic crop production:

  • Copper sulfate (2 listings),
  • Ozone gas,
  • Peracetic acid (2 listings), and
  • EPA List 3-Inerts of unknown toxicity

Prohibited for use in organic crop production:

  • Calcium chloride - brine process is natural and prohibited for use except as a foliar spray to treat physiological disorder associated with calcium  uptake

Allowed for use in organic handling:

  • Agar-agar,
  • Animal enzymes,
  • Calcium sulfate,
  • Carrageenan,
  • Cellulose,
  • Glucono delta-lactone,
  • Tartaric acid - made from grape wine, and
  • Tartaric acid - made from malic acid

The National Organic Program (NOP) is initiating a review of the exemptions and prohibitions granted on the National List and is inviting comments from the public on these provisions. The National Organic Standards Board will then review these listings and related public comments before making a recommendation to the Secretary of Agriculture for rulemaking. A proposed rule will provide additional opportunity for the public to submit written comments.
 
Sunset review and renewal must be completed by Nov. 3, 2013; otherwise, the substances will be removed from the National List. Due to the importance of these substances in the production and handling of raw and processed organic agricultural products, the NOP is initiating the sunset review and renewal process now.
 
To read the full document and provide relevant comments, visit the Federal Register [identify docket number AMS-NOP-11-0003; NOP-10-13]. Comments must be submitted on or before August 1, 2011. It can also be done by mailing Toni Strother, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, NOP at USDA-AMS-NOP, Room 2646-So., Ag Stop 0268, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC  20250-0268.
 
For information about how to submit comments, read the complete Federal Register notice. For other information, contact Melissa Bailey, Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 2646-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC  20250-0268.  Telephone: (202) 720-3252.

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