The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an April 26-29, 2010, meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which makes recommendations about whether a substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling; assists in the development of organic production standards; and advises USDA on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the board to receive updates from USDA’s National Organic Program and to hear progress reports from six NOSB committees on Compliance, Accreditation and Certification; Crops; Handling; Livestock; Materials; and Policy Development.

NOSB will also continue its assessment of substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, which identifies synthetic substances that may be used, and the nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used, in organic production and handling operations. In particular, NOSB will review (i) “the continued exemption (use) of 37 agricultural products not commercially available as organic that are scheduled to expire after June 27, 2012”; (ii) “the continued exemption (use) and prohibition of 182 substances used in organic production and handling that are set to sunset on October 7, 2012”; (iii) “the continued uses (2) for one substance in organic crop and livestock production that is due to sunset on December 11, 2012”; and (iv) “10 exempted substances for use in organic livestock production that are due to sunset in December 13, 2012.” Under consideration for sunset review are (i) synthetic substances allowed in organic crop production, including ethanol, soap-based herbicides, plastic mulch, recycled paper without glossy or colored inks, lime sulfur, insecticidal soaps, sulfates, and liquid fish products; (ii) nonsynthetic substances prohibited in organic crop production, including ash from manure burning, arsenic, lead salts, strychnine, and tobacco dust; (iii) synthetic substances allowed in organic livestock production and handling, including several feed additives, aspirin, vaccines, electrolytes, and vitamins; (iv) the prohibition on the use of strychnine, a nonsynthetic substance, in organic livestock production and handling; (v) several nonorganic agricultural products allowed as coloring agents, processing ingredients or processing aids in organic food products when alternatives are not commercially available; (vi) several nonagricultural products allowed in organic food products, including acids, dairy cultures, enzymes, nutrient vitamins and minerals, and xanthan gum. In addition, the Compliance, Accreditation, and Certification Committee “will present their recommendations . . . regarding the use of inert atmospheric gases in processed products labeled 100% organic.” See Federal Register, March 17. 2010.

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