USDA amends the National List for organic handling, crops, and livestock



The USDA published a final rule in the Federal Register on Monday, amending the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for organic foods. Some chemicals are allowed in organic production.

The National List stems from the Organic Foods Production Act as a tool for managing the substances used in organic production. In general, natural substances are allowed in organics and synthetic substances are prohibited.

The National List identifies the limited exceptions to these general rules. The National List also identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances (ingredients) that may be used in organic handling.

Changes to the National List require a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommendation and USDA rulemaking, a process that provides multiple opportunities for public comment.

The latest amendments include substances scheduled to sunset in 2022, based on NOSB recommendations and public input.

This final rule is effective March 30, 2022, and addresses recommendations from previous NOSB public meetings to remove:

  • One substance currently allowed in organic crop production (Vitamin B1).
  • One substance currently allowed in organic livestock production (procaine).
  • 14 nonorganic ingredients (including eight nonorganic colors) that are currently allowed in organic handling. See the linked notice below for details.

 Based on public comment, this rule also renews the allowance for:

  • Sucrose octanoate esters for use in organic crops, and livestock production.
  • Oxytocin for use in organic livestock production.

This final rule amends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic regulations to implement recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The rule prohibits 14 nonorganic ingredients, which are currently allowed in the manufacture of organic processed products. The rule also prohibits two substances — vitamin B1 and procaine — which are currently allowed in organic crop and livestock production. Finally, the rule renews an allowance for two substances — oxytocin and sucrose octanoate esters — in organic production.

 The March 30, 2022, compliance date for the amendments that remove vitamin B1 and procaine from the National List is March 15, 2023. The compliance date for all other amendments that remove substances from the National List is March 15, 2024.

Products in the stream of commerce after the compliance date that are labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” may contain substances removed in this final rule if manufactured prior to the compliance date. The final rule renews an allowance for two substances (oxytocin and sucrose octanoate esters) in organic production. This rule maintains the current regulatory structure with regard to these two substances upon publication for up to five years.

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