The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) has issued a proposed rule that would amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances to permit the use of biodegradable biobased mulch film in organic crop production and the use of Citrus hystrix and curry leaves in organic processing. NOP has also proposed removing two nonorganic agricultural products from the National List—hops (Humulus lupulus) and unmodified rich starch—“as their use exemptions expired on January 1, 2013, and June 21, 2009, respectively.”

According to NOP, biodegradable biobased mulch film is a synthetic substance “used as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic mulches that do not biodegrade,” while the leaves and fruit of Citrus hystrix are traditional ingredients in Lao, Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines, and curry or sweet neem leaves are an important ingredient in Indian, Sri Lankan, Malay, and other Southeast Asian cuisines. The agency will accept comments on the inclusion of these substances in organic crop production and processing until October 21, 2013. See Federal Register, August 22, 2013.