US: Changes in organic review process meet resistance

The National Organic Program changes its procedures for sunset provisions, which it says will increase transparency in determining what substances are allowed on the national list. Opponents say it does the opposite.

Some members of the organic industry say they oppose new changes in the National Organic Program that proponents say are aimed at adding consistency to determining which substances farmers can use.

The changes, announced last week, require that two-thirds of the 15-member National Organic Standards Board support any change to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for it to be recommended to the USDA.

The board must review all substances on the list every five years. It can recommend substances be removed due to impacts on human health, the environment or other criteria under the Organic Foods Production Act.

“The new procedure means that the board will need a two-thirds decisive vote to remove an existing listing, rather than a two-thirds decisive vote to retain an existing listing,” Sam Jones-Ellard, public affairs specialist at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, said. “This ensures consistency across all board recommendations related to the national list and provides increased stability for the market once something goes through the initial evaluation process.”


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