• The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for maintaining the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (the “National List”) for organic handling and production as part of the National Organic Program (NOP) under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA; Public Law 101-624, Nov. 28, 1990). The National List, codified at 7 CFR 205.601 through 205.606, identifies synthetic substances that may be used and natural substances that may not be used in organic crop and livestock production as well as a limited number of non-organic substances that may be used in or on organic processed products. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a Federal Advisory Board, considers and makes recommendations to the NOP regarding the National List. For more on the NOP, OFPA, the National List, and NOSB, see our blog posts here, here, and here and USDA resources.
  • On January 17, 2018, USDA published a proposed rule, 83 Fed. Reg. 2498, that would have amended the National List by adding 16 new substances to be allowed in organic production and handling, changing the use restrictions of 17 other substances already on the National List, removing a parasiticide (ivermectin) from the National List, and listing a botanical pesticide (rotenone) as a prohibited substance. The comment period closed on March 19 and was later reopened on April 13, 83 Fed. Reg. 16010, for an additional 30 days. The final rule was published on December 27, 83 Fed. Reg. 66559, with several changes relative to the proposed rule. We discussed the proposed rule, in the context of the reopened comment period, in the Daily Intake Blog here.
  • In summary, USDA made the following changes in the final rule:
    • The revised limitation for micronutrient use was simplified,
    • The withdrawal period for parasiticides in fiber bearing animals was reduced from 90 to 36 days,
    • The agency clarified that the permitted methionine supplementation levels is a maximum rate,
    • The agency corrected a typo in the proposed rule that would have erroneously included zinc sulfate in both Sections 205.603(a) and 205.603(b) rather than 205.603(b) only,
    • Alternate agricultural sources for some colors derived from agricultural products is permitted, and
    • Sugar beets are no longer as an acceptable source of color derived from beets.
  • USDA clarified that microcrystalline cellulose is not the same as cellulose and is not on the National List.
  • Finally, USDA set an implementation date for all of the additions and most of the other amendments to the list of 30 days post publication (January 28, 2019). For the removal of ivermectin and the amendments to flavors, cellulose, and glycerin, the implementation date will be December 27, 2019.