The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a Final Rule on April 1, 2013, which adds eight new product categories, and one new subcategory, to the USDA’s BioPreferred federal procurement program. The BioPreferred Program is intended to promote federal procurement of “biobased products” (i.e., commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products, renewable agricultural materials, or forestry materials). A product will be considered a “biobased product” for procurement preference if the product fits within a designated product category and contains at least the minimum biobased content established for the designated category.

The eight new product categories are:

  1. Aircraft and boat cleaners (minimum biobased content of at least 48% for aircraft cleaners; and 38% for boat cleaners)
  2. Automotive care products (minimum biobased content of at least 75%)
  3. Engine crankcase oil (minimum biobased content of at least 27%)
  4. Gasoline fuel additives (minimum biobased content of at least 92%)
  5. Metal cleaners and corrosion removers (minimum biobased content of at least 71% for corrosion removers; 75% for stainless steel cleaners; and 56% for other metal cleaners)
  6. Microbial cleaning products (minimum biobased content of at least 45% for drain maintenance products; 44% for wastewater maintenance products; and 50% for general cleaners)
  7. Paint removers (minimum biobased content of at least 41%)
  8. Water turbine bearing oils (minimum biobased content of at least 46%)

In addition, USDA has added an additional subcategory (Countertops) to an existing product category (Composite panels). Under the regulations, countertops must have a minimum biobased content of at least 89%) to qualify under the Program.

Procuring agencies must give procurement preferences to qualifying products under each of the above categories, and agency procurement specifications must require the use of biobased products in each of the above categories, by no later than April 1, 2014.