(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2022) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 1. This precedes the upcoming public hearing on April 19 and 21â€”concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. For details on the all the issues of importance to organic integrity, please see Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong webpage.
The NOSB is responsible for guiding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health
The NOSB plays an important role in bringing the views of organic producers and consumers to bear on USDA, which is not always in sync with organic principles. There are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and the Spring 2022 issues page. Here are some high priority issues for us:
Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a quaternary ammonium compound (quat or QAC) that is being petitioned for use on raw organic poultry. The class of QACs includes several toxic sanitizers and disinfectants as well as the highly toxic herbicides paraquat and diquat. CPC is highly toxic, and poses a particular hazard to workers. CPC residues have been discovered on treated surfaces and poultry skin, exposing consumers to unlabeled pesticide residues. It is unnecessary in organic production, and the petition should be denied.
The NOSB is considering a proposal limiting the use of highly soluble nitrogen fertilizers in organic production. This follows on recommendations by the NOSB in Fall 2021, prohibiting the use of stripped ammonia and concentrated ammonia as fertilizers in organic crop production. In recognition of the fact that their high solubility makes them inconsistent with organic
production, which â€śfeeds the soil, not the plant,â€ť the Crops Subcommittee proposes to generalize the prohibition unless use is restricted to no more than 20 percent of the cropâ€™s total nitrogen requirement. USDA has stated that it will not implement the prohibition of stripped ammonia and concentrated ammonia unless this proposal passes. The NOSB should pass this proposal to protect organic integrity.
Biodegradable Biobased (Bioplastic) Mulch Film (BBMF) is under consideration for sunset this year. Although the NOSB will not vote on BBMF until the Fall 2022 meeting, this is part of a larger issue of the use of plastic in organic production and handling. Awareness is growing about the impacts of plasticâ€”and the microplastic particles to which it degradesâ€”on human health and the environment. BBMF should not be relisted. Moreover, the NOSB should initiate action to eliminate all uses of plastic in organic production and handlingâ€”including packaging.
Please feel free to use the text above to highlight for the NOSB the concerns of these key issues.
Need help in submitting comments? Regulations.gov requires more than a single click, but it is not difficult. Please feel free to cut-and-paste the three comments above into Regulations.gov and add or adjust the text to personalize it. See this instructional video. (Regulations.gov has changed its look since this video was made.)
Thank you for keeping organic strong!