Prohibitions for livestock feed

What is prohibited in organic livestock feed?

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) prohibits the following for livestock feed:

  • Synthetic materials not allowed per the National List
  • Manure or urea
  • Mammalian or poultry slaughter by-products, including blood, meat or bone meal, bone charcoal
  • Substances derived from slaughter by-products such as gelatin
  • Drugs or hormones used to promote animal growth
  • Antibiotics or ionophores
  • Feed supplements or additives at levels beyond the animal’s nutritional needs
  • Non-certified organic agricultural ingredients
  • Certain vitamins and minerals that are proteinated or derived from slaughter by-products or GMOs
  • Anything that violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

The program also prohibits the restriction of ruminant livestock — except as allowed — from grazing on pasture during the grazing season. OTCO will not grant temporary variances to feed non-organic feed to organic livestock.

You can read more about what is prohibited in organic livestock feed in the NOP Handbook.


Certain products that are certified organic for human consumption may not be compliant for certified organic livestock feed. Be sure to submit new feed supplements or additives that are not certified organic or OMRI/WSDA-listed for livestock use to us for review and approval prior to use.

What happens if I feed organic livestock a prohibited material?

Livestock fed a prohibited material will permanently lose organic certification.

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