Feb 2, 2022
Comments accepted on changed US list of substances for organic crops

The USDA National Organic Program recently shared some details about proposed changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.

The National List identifies the synthetic substances allowed and the natural substances prohibited in organic farming, the USDA wrote in a newsletter. The National List also identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be used in organic handling.

Any change to the National List requires a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) – the federal advisory board charged with advising USDA leadership about the National List and other matters – and then USDA rulemaking with multiple opportunities for public comment, according to the USDA’s newsletter.

USDA published Feb. 1 a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List, part of the organic regulations overseen by the NOP. The proposed changes are based on October 2020 and April 2021 recommendations from the NOSB, the USDA said.

This proposed rule would:

  • Allow paper pots for use as a planting aid in organic crop production.

  • Allow low-acyl gellan gum for use as a thickener, gelling agent, or stabilizer in organic food processing.

  • Correct a spelling error on the National List to change “wood resin” to “wood rosin.”

USDA welcomes comments on the proposed amendments, according to the newsletter. The 62-day comment period will close on April 4, 2022.

Comments can be submitted online. The USDA has an online course available on how to write an effective public comment.

Above, the Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building, Washington, D.C. Photo: USDA/Lance Cheung



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