The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a final rule extending the use of methionine in organic poultry production until October 1, 2012. Effective March 15, 2011, the rule amends the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances according to the recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which governs the use of synthetic and non-synthetic substances in organic processing and production. A dietary supplement, methionine “is classified as an essential amino acid because it cannot be biologically produced by poultry and is necessary to maintain vitality.” In 2009, the Methionine Task Force filed a petition requesting a five-year extension on the allowance for synthetic methionine, partly because wholly natural sources of the supplement are not available.

NOSB ultimately recommended that, at first, “the amount of synthetic methionine per ton of feed be limited to 4 pounds for laying chickens, 5 pounds for broiler chickens, and 6 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry.” After October 1, 2012, the allowance would be reduced to “2 pounds for laying chickens, 2 pounds for broiler chickens and 3 pounds for turkeys and all other poultry through October 1, 2015.” The final rule implements the first part of this recommendation. See Federal Register, March 14, 2011.