Share Your Comments with the National Organic Standards Board

Response times may be slow due to the wildfires affecting Santa Cruz County and Covid-19. Organic compliance deadlines and inspections will be delayed for businesses affected by these crises. Read the latest updates on the Northern California wildfires, and visit our Covid-19 webpage to find pandemic-specific information »

Los tiempos de respuesta serán lentos debido a los incendios forestales afectando al condado de Santa Cruz y COVID-19. Los plazos de cumplimiento orgánico y las inspecciones se retrasarán para los negocios afectados por estas crisis.  Lea las últimas actualizaciones sobre los incendios forestales del norte de California y visite nuestra página web de Covid-19 para encontrar información específica a la pandemia »

Spring has arrived and the next National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting is just around the corner! It’s time to submit comments on materials and weigh in on NOSB recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP).

Spring 2016 Meeting

The next NOSB meeting will be April 25-27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. NOSB is a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives, which recommends changes and adjustments to organic standards to the USDA NOP. NOSB reviews all materials allowed in organic production on a five-year cycle, known as the Sunset Review process, and recommends to the NOP whether to allow or prohibit the use of the reviewed materials.

For a list of materials currently up for review at the April 2016 meeting, see below.

For more background on materials up for NOSB review, visit the NOSB website.

Submit Your Comments to NOSB

NOSB recommendations to the NOP are based on public comment and testimony. Use the CCOF comment template to tell NOSB the value of materials under review that impact your operation.

Written Comments

You can submit written comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 14, 2016 at for docket number: AMS-NOP-15-0085-0001 (click the “Comment Now!” button).

Oral Testimony: In-Person or Via Webinar

You can sign up to present oral comments in-person at the NOSB meeting in Washington, D.C.

NOSB will also hear oral testimony virtually via webinar. Register to give webinar testimony on April 19, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. EDT via the NOSB oral comment sign up webpage.

NOSB will accept in-person and webinar oral-testimony registrations until 11:59 p.m. EDT, April 14, 2016.

Those traveling to Washington, D.C. to attend the meeting should make their reservations at the Omni Shoreham Hotel by the April 4, 2016 deadline.

More Information

Visit the NOSB Spring 2016 Meeting webpage for more information on the April 2016 NOSB meeting.


Summary of the 2016 April NOSB Meeting Agenda*

2018 Sunset Materials Review

NOSB advises the USDA NOP on substances to allow or prohibit in organic production. In general, organic regulations prohibit the use of synthetic substances and allow the use of non-synthetic substances. The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (the National List) spells out the exceptions to these rules, naming the synthetic substances allowed in and the non-synthetic prohibited in organic production/processing.

NOSB reviews every substance on the National List every five years. This review process is referred to as Sunset review. During the April meeting NOSB will review the 2018 Sunset Materials, which include copper sulfate used in organic crop production and carrageenan used in organic processing.

NOSB subcommittees have requested public comment on the 2018 Sunset Materials from the National List. NOSB also requests public comment on a number of petitions to add new materials to the National List, as well as various discussion documents.

2018 Sunset Materials from the National List up for Review:

Crops Materials:

  • Copper sulfate – used as an algicide in aquatic rice production systems
  • Ozone gas – used as an irrigation system cleaner
  • Peracetic acid – used to disinfect equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material
  • EPA List 3: Inerts of unknown toxicity – used in passive pheromone dispensers
  • Calcium chloride – used as a foliar spray to treat a physiological disorder associated with calcium uptake in crops

Handling Materials:

  • Agar-agar – a food additive used as a stabilizer, thickener, moisturizer and flavor enhancer
  • Animal enzymes – naturally occurring proteins that carry out naturally occurring biological processes that are useful in food processing. For example, the animal enzyme rennet is used to curdle milk in cheese making.
  • Calcium sulfate-mined – used as a dough conditioner, firming agent, and coagulant in tofu manufacturing
  • Carrageenan – used as a bulking agent, stabilizer, or thickener in food processing
  • Glucono delta-lactone – used in the production of tofu
  • Tartaric acid – has many functions in food processing including use as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and anti-caking agent
  • Cellulose – used as a processing aid for filtration of juices, as an anti-caking agent ingredient for use in shredding cheese, and as a processing aid in the form of peelable sausage casings
  • Potassium hydroxide – used to assist the peeling of fruits and vegetables
  • Silicon dioxide – has various functions in food processing including use as an anti-caking agent, carrier, and defoaming agent
  • Colors: Beta-carotene extract – used as a color in food processing
Proposals and Discussion Documents

NOSB also requests public comment on a number of proposals and discussion documents to be considered during the April 2016 NOSB meeting, including the following:

Crops Subcommittee

  • Proposal: Ash from manure burning – petitioned
  • Proposal: Squid and squid byproducts – petitioned
  • Proposal: Hypochlorous acid – petitioned
  • Proposal: Soy wax – petitioned
  • Discussion document: Prohibition of nonyl phenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in inerts annotation change

Livestock Subcommittee

  • Proposal: Hypochlorous acid – petitioned
  • Proposal: Annotation changes for lidocaine and procaine
  • Proposal: Annotation change for parasiticides

Handling Subcommittee

  • Proposal: Sodium and Potassium lactate – petitioned
  • Proposal: Oat beta-glucan – petitioned
  • Proposal: Hypochlorous acid – petitioned
  • Proposal: Sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (SDBS) – petitioned
  • Proposal: Ancillary substances for microorganisms
  • Discussion document: Nutrient vitamins and minerals – annotation change

Materials Subcommittee

  • Proposal: Excluded methods terminology
  • Discussion document: Excluded methods terminology
  • Discussion document: Seed purity – next steps

Policy Development Subcommittee

  • Proposal: Policy and procedure manual (PPM) revisions
  • Discussion document: Sunset timeline reorganization


*For more background on materials, petitions, and discussion documents on the NOSB meeting agenda, visit the NOSB website.