The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) has issued an interim final rule that extends until October 1, 2012, the allowance for methionine in organic poultry production. Effective October 1, 2010, the interim rule allows organic operations to use synthetic methionine at the following maximum limits per ton of poultry feed: (i) four pounds for laying chickens; (ii) five pounds for broiler chickens; and (iii) six pounds for turkeys and all other poultry.  

According to an August 24, 2010, press release, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in April 2010 called for amending the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances to permit the continued use of synthetic methionine, an amino acid essential for poultry health and development, because its prohibition would “cause substantial economic hardship” for producers. In addition, NOSB has recommended extending the allowance beyond October 1, 2012, to October 1, 2015, while decreasing “the maximum level of synthetic methionine permitted per ton of feed ration to the following levels: 2 pounds for laying and broiler chickens, and 3 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry.” The board has also urged NOP to consider extensions beyond October 1, 2015, as part of its sunset review process rather than via petition.  

NOP has indicated its intention to issue subsequent rulemaking on the above recommendations for the October 1, 2012, to October 1, 2015, period. It will accept comments on the current interim rule until October 25, 2010. See Federal Register, August 24, 2010.