The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has published a final rule addressing the recommendations submitted by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) as part of the 2013 sunset review of substances on USDA’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (the National List), which governs the use of synthetic and nonsynthetic substances in organic crop and livestock production and handling. In addition to renewing for five years multiple exemptions (uses) and one prohibition on the National List in accordance with NOSB’s recommendations, AMS has removed an exemption for the synthetic form of tartaric acid made from malic acid, thus prohibiting its use in organic handling.  

Effective November 3, 2013, the final rule also includes the agency’s response to comments on the renewals of two synthetic substances—EPA List 3 Inerts and cellulose—and one non-synthetic substance—carrageenan—that are currently permitted in organic crop production, handling and processing. In particular, AMS noted that “both commenters [sic] and the [Food and Drug Administration] have identified many deficiencies in the literature regarding the gastrointestinal toxicity of carrageenan, concluding that there is no information clearly demonstrating that there is evidence for a carcinogenic effect for food grade carrageenan use in foods or infant formula.” See Federal Register, October 3, 2013.