Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

USDA proposes changes to ‘National List’ for organic producers

Government accepting public comments now on changes to list of banned, approved substances

The National Organic Program that stands behind those USDA Organic seals on processed and fresh foods in the grocery store comes with a lot of fine print. Most consumers don’t know much about it, but for the $50 billion organic marketplace, it’s all about the details.

And the latest changes in those details, known as the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances or just the National List, were proposed Thursday by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The federal government is accepting public comments on the National List changes until March 19. For instructions on how to file comments, please click here.

The proposed changes would amend the National List to implement recommendations for the organic regulations that the NOSB submitted to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Perdue has already pulled back the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices regulations — last-minute animal welfare rules from his predecessor Tom Vilsack. Organic livestock producers supported the standards.

This time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to change restrictions on 17 substances allowed in organic production or handling: micronutrients, chlorhexidine, parasiticides, fenbendazole, moxidectin, xylazine, lidocaine, procaine, methionine, excipients, alginic acid, flavors, carnauba wax, chlorine, cellulose, colors and glycerin.

The changes up for public comment also add 16 substances to the National List, meaning organic producers can use them in production and handling: hypochlorous acid, magnesium oxide, squid byproducts, activated charcoal, calcium borogluconate, calcium propionate, injectable vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, kaolin-pectin, mineral oil, propylene glycol, acidified sodium chlorite, zinc sulfate, potassium lactate and sodium lactate.

The proposed rule change would prohibit the use of the botanical pesticide Rotenone in organic crop production. It would also remove ivermectin from the list of allowable parasiticides for organic livestock production.

The National List identifies permitted synthetic substances and the unusable nonsynthetic, or so-called natural elements, not usable in organic production. The National List also identifies synthetic, nonsynthetic nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural materials that may be used in organic handling.

Recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board are the basis for the National List amendments. The rule includes 29 proposals with 35 National List amendments. First of the changes was proposed in the year 2000.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News