Help Shape Organic Standards!

Now is the time to share your story and help shape the future of organic. Two times a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites all members of the public to submit comments on what the organic standards should include and exclude.  

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—review the public comments. Then, the NOSB recommends changes and adjustments to the USDA.    

The NOSB will meet this fall to review a number of materials and documents set forth in its meeting agenda, and members of the public have until October 7 to submit comments on these agenda items.  CCOF-certified growers and handlers can help NOSB make informed, worthwhile recommendations by commenting on these issues.

For example, the following Handler materials are open for comment:

  • Glycerin—a petition has been submitted to remove synthetic glycerin from the National List due to the commercial availability of organic glycerin.
  • Materials up for 2016 sunset review—this meeting is the first time that information will be gathered on materials including egg white lysozyme, L-Malic acid, food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, activated charcoal, Peracetic acid, and boiler chemicals. CCOF members who use these or other materials on the 2016 sunset list may want to submit a comment early in the process.  

The following Crops materials are open for comment:

  • Sulfurous acid—sulfur burners transform elemental sulfur into sulfurous acid, which is then added to irrigation water and applied to soil to reduce excessive alkalinity. Sulfurous acid is up for 2015 sunset review. Growers who utilize sulfur burners may want to communicate to NOSB that they find this a useful technology for improving soil quality.
  • Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate—the active ingredient in algaecidal products such as GreenClean. Up for 2015 sunset review.
  • Aqueous potassium silicate—used as an insecticide and plant disease control.
  • Ferric phosphate—the active ingredient in the slug and snail bait product Sluggo. Also, hydrogen chloride—used to delint cotton seed. Both are eligible for sunset in 2016.

Other documents open for comment include:

Aquaculture and inert ingredients are also scheduled for discussion.

The full set of discussion documents, materials descriptions, and questions on these materials posed by the NOSB provides more background on each item.

To comment, visit the website, regulations.gov, and click on the “Comment Now!” button. Use this link to sign up to present an oral comment at the meeting.

 

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