USDA publishes National Organic Standards Board spring meeting agenda |

USDA publishes National Organic Standards Board spring meeting agenda

The Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service on March 17 posted meeting materials and an updated agenda for the National Organic Standards Board spring meeting, to be held in Denver April 19-21.

The documents show that the board is expected to debate whether food grown in water and air without soil should be considered organic, whether Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical widely used in the lining of cans for food, should be used in organic food packaging, whether the conversion of wild lands to organic production results in the destruction of high value conservation lands and fragile ecosystems and whether certain substances should continue to be allowed in organic foods.

The NOSB is a federal advisory committee of organic community and stakeholder representatives established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and operating under provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It is administered through AMS.

The board recommends whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, assists in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production, and advises the agriculture secretary on other aspects of the organic regulations. Twice a year, the board convenes to listen to public comments, discuss specific items pertaining to organic agriculture, and vote on recommendations for the USDA’s National Organic Program to consider.

The board meeting provides a forum for the organic community to provide input on issues concerning organic production and processing, AMS noted. The meetings are open to the public, and no registration is required, except to sign up for oral comments. The face-to-face meetings are not webcast.

Also last week, AMS announced the renewal of 187 substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) to conclude the 2017 Sunset Review.

These substances are used in organic crop and livestock production and organic handling/processing. The NOSB has reviewed these substances and supports their continued inclusion on the National List.

The new sunset date for these substances is March 15, 2022.

A notice about this action will be published in the Federal Register soon, and will be searchable using the identifier: AMS-NOP-17-0001.

AMS invites public comments on the list through April 19.