Keeping Organic Strong: Changes in organic regulations and farming practice


National Organic Standards Board

Click here for the Spring 2017 meeting issues

Where? Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, 1550 Court Place, Denver, CO 80202

When? Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 8:30am to Friday, April 21, 2017 - 6:00pm

Public Comment

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) invites the public to submit written comments and/or provide oral comments on the spring 2017 meeting issues. The comment period will close March 30, 2017. Please note: In order to be considered during the Spring 2017 meeting, written public comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots must be received by 11:59 p.m. March 30, 2017.

Written Comments

Please submit feedback on the NOSB Subcommittees’ proposals via Regulations.gov. The deadline to submit written comments is 11:59 p.m. ET, March 30, 2017.

Oral Comments

Register online to provide oral public comments. The Board will hear comments during a pre-meeting webinar and during the face-to-face meeting. 
  • Thursday, April 13, 2017, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern, via webinar; (3 minute comment slot)
  • Wednesday/Thursday, April 19 and 20, 2017, at the face-to-face meeting; (3 minute comment slot)
Commenters may only sign up for one comment slot.  Reserve an Oral Comment Slot 
Deadline to sign up: 11:59 p.m. March 30, 2017.

Click here to view issues that were before the Board at the fall 2016 meeting!

Also see our NOSB archives pages to read about current and past opportunities for public involvement in the development of organic standards.

The organic regulatory process provides numerous opportunities for the public to weigh in on what is allowable in organic production. USDA maintains a National List, set by the NOSB, of the synthetic substances that may be used and the non-synthetic substances that may not be used in organic production and handling. OFPA and NOP regulations provide for the sunsetting of listed substances every five years and relies on public comment in evaluating their continuing uses.Sunset review, the process of reviewing substances on the National List every five years, is mandated by the Organic Foods Production Act. No substances are up for sunset review at this meeting. To be added to the list of allowed synthetics, it must be shown that the use of such substances – (i) would not be harmful to human health or the environment; (ii) is necessary to the production or handling of the agricultural product because of the unavailability of wholly natural substitute products; and, (iii) is consistent with organic farming and handling. The public may also file a petition to amend the National List, either by removing a material currently on the list or by adding a new one. In both cases, sunset and petition, the NOSB is authorized by OFPA to determine a substance’s status.

For more information on the history of organic agriculture and why it is the best choice for your health and the environment, please see Beyond Pesticides’ Organic Food Program Page.