The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a final rule permitting the use of synthetic methionine in organic poultry production. Effective October 1, 2012, the final rule reduces the maximum levels of methionine per ton of feed as follows: (i) 2 pounds for laying and broiler chickens, and (ii) 3 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry. The final rule also amends the Chemicals Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers “for the allowable forms of synthetic methionine.”

According to NOP, “[m]ethionine is classified as an essential amino acid for poultry because it is needed to maintain viability and must be acquired through the diet… Natural feed sources with a high percentage of methionine include blood meal, fish meal, crab meal, corn gluten meal, alfalfa meal, and sunflower seed meal.” In reviewing the rules governing the use of synthetic methionine, a water-soluble crystalline powder, in organic poultry production, the National Organic Standards Board sought to balance the basic maintenance requirements of organic poultry with consumers’ expectations and the need for industry “to continue the pursuit of commercially sufficient sources of methionine.” Additional details about the proposed rule appear in Issue 426 of this Update. See Federal Register, September 19, 2012.