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Daily News Blog

12
Sep

Organic Integrity Before the Public, Comments Due By September 29

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2021) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing October 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up to speak at the webinar by September 29. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. Links to the virtual comment webinars and the public meeting will be posted on this webpage in early October.

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 Fall 2022 issues page. Here are some high priority issues for us:

Organic Agriculture is Climate-Smart Agriculture. The NOSB draft letter to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack is an excellent primer on how organic agriculture responds to the climate emergency. However, the letter needs to stress the need for USDA to promote conversion to organic farming. More important to addressing the climate crisis than the questions posed by NOP are questions concerning how USDA programs can assist organic producers and those seeking to convert to organic. The draft letter addresses these as well. It also points out the resiliency of organic agriculture: “Organic is the solution to mitigating climate change and responding to it.”In view of the climate benefits of organic and the incentives inherent in organic marketing, the real question is whether USDA will abandon its promotion of chemical-intensive agriculture supported by the biotech/chemical industry in favor of whole-hearted support for organic agriculture—because despite the astronomical growth in organic consumption in the U.S., conversion to organic agriculture lags behind demand. USDA could and should make adoption of organic/climate-smart practices a prerequisite for receiving the benefits of its programs.

Biodegradable Biobased (Bioplastic) Mulch Film (BBMF) is under consideration for sunset this year. This is part of a larger issue of the use of plastic in organic production and handling. Awareness is growing about the impacts of plastic—and the microplastic particles to which it degrades—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 handling—including packaging.

The NOSB should use the sunset process to eliminate non-organic ingredients in processed organic foods. Materials listed in §205.606 in the organic regulations are nonorganic agricultural ingredients that are allowed to be used as ingredients as part of the 5% of organic processed foods that is not required to be organic. Materials should not remain on §205.606 if they can be supplied organically, and anything that can be grown can be grown organically. The Handling Subcommittee needs to ask the question of potential suppliers, “Could you supply the need if the organic form is required?” Two materials on §205.606 are up for sunset this year—pectin and casings. Both are made from agricultural products that can be supplied organically and thus should be sunsetted.

>>Submit Comments Now.

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!

 

Share

7 Responses to “Organic Integrity Before the Public, Comments Due By September 29”

  1. 1
    Peter Souza Says:

    protect organic integrity!

  2. 2
    alice Jena Says:

    please eliminate non-organic ingredients in processed organic products

  3. 3
    Yvonne Fisher Says:

    Organic standards need to be kept at a high level. This is the goal and this is what we should aspire to: food that is free of harmful pesticides and natural as nature intended it.

    This should be the goal of all food whether we know of how harmful GMO food is or not. Nothing can beat organic, food which has been grown this way for millennia.

    Organic food is the “gold standard”. Please let’s keep it this way.

  4. 4
    Margaret Handley Says:

    The US has one of the worst records of allowing toxic chemicals in our food. The EPA seems to be unable or unwilling to get on the EU bandwagon of controlling toxins in our food. thus, we need more organic food to preserve our health in this country.

  5. 5
    Lynn Ricci Says:

    My heart hopes that the right thing is done for our environment so that ALL living can live their life.❤️

  6. 6
    Pam Wilbourn Says:

    I buy almost all organic produce and fruits.YES it costs more,but the taste and safety are worth it.

  7. 7
    jeffrey sanders Says:

    keep organic foods organic.

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