• Archives

  • Categories

    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (13)
    • Antimicrobial (3)
    • Aquaculture (25)
    • Aquatic Organisms (13)
    • Bats (1)
    • Beneficials (33)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (16)
    • Biomonitoring (32)
    • Birds (10)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (25)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (7)
    • Children (38)
    • Children/Schools (223)
    • Climate Change (45)
    • Clover (1)
    • compost (1)
    • contamination (89)
    • Disinfectants & Sanitizers (3)
    • Emergency Exemption (1)
    • Environmental Justice (123)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (193)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (138)
    • Fertilizer (5)
    • fish (4)
    • Forestry (2)
    • Fracking (4)
    • Fungicides (7)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (4)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (62)
    • International (322)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (202)
    • Litigation (303)
    • Livestock (5)
    • Microbiata (8)
    • Microbiome (7)
    • Nanosilver (2)
    • Nanotechnology (54)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (141)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (2)
    • Pesticide Regulation (699)
    • Pesticide Residues (153)
    • Pets (21)
    • Preemption (23)
    • Repellent (1)
    • Resistance (90)
    • Rodenticide (23)
    • Seeds (2)
    • synergistic effects (5)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (4)
    • Take Action (481)
    • Toxic Waste (2)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (352)
    • Wood Preservatives (23)
    • World Health Organization (2)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'National Organic Standards Board/National Organic Program' Category


NOSB Upholds Phase Out of Antibiotics in Organic Production

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2014) During the recent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the board voted to uphold the phase out in apple and pear production of the antibiotic streptomycin, which is  set to expire on October 21, 2014. Since petitions to allow the use of all synthetic materials in organic production require a decisive, or 2/3’s, vote under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA),  the apple and pear industry’s petition to extend  was voted down with a vote of 8-7. This vote comes after a similar proposal to extend an exemption for oxytetracycline, another antibiotic used in apple and pear production, was rejected at the spring 2013 NOSB meeting. Beyond Pesticides, with other organizations,  has led the effort to remove antibiotics from apple and pear production because of  their contribution to antibiotic resistance, organic consumer expectation that antibiotics are not used in organic food production, and the availability of alternative practices and inputs. In April 2013, the NOSB discussed the problem of antibiotic resistance thoroughly and heard from numerous commenters concerning the problem of antibiotic resistance with respect to its use in orchards. At the Spring meeting, Glenn Morris, M.D, professor of infectious diseases […]



Organic Food Consumption Leads to Dramatically Lower Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2014) A recent study, Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet, led by Liza Oates found lower trances of organophosphate metabolites in consumers that ate organic food for a week compared to those who ate a conventional diet. The study  adds to the scientific literature that shows consuming organic food minimize consumers’ exposure to pesticides residue. Because organic agriculture is a healthier system for consumers it is important we protect strict organic standards. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, found that participants who ate a diet that was at least 80 percent organic had 89 percent lower levels of dialkylphosphates (DAPs), non-selective organophosphate metabolites, in their urine. The study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia with non-smoking participates between the age of 18 and 65. Participants were asked to eat a diet of conventional food for a week than on the morning of day eight participants provided a urine sample to the researchers. This process was repeated with the same participants after they spent a week eating at least 80 percent organic food. The levels of DAPs found in participants during the week in which they ate conventional […]



European Union Set to Strengthen Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2014) The European Commission released a new proposal this week to impose stricter regulations for organic food produced within the European Union (EU). The initiative would harmonize standards within the 29-member bloc, eliminate many exceptions currently allowed in organic agriculture while simultaneously improving consumer trust and addressing producer concerns. The move comes just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is receiving comments on allowable organic materials. The Commission’s proposal acknowledges the massive expansion of the organic market in the EU, which has quadrupled in size over the last ten years ””with similar patterns shown in U.S. organic market. “The future of the organic sector in the EU depends on the quality and integrity of the products sold under the European organic logo,” said Dacian CioloÅŸ, EU Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development. “The Commission is looking for more and better organic farming in the EU by consolidating consumer confidence in organic products and removing obstacles to the development of organic agriculture.” The proposal will eliminate exceptions in organic farming through measures such as reducing the conventional feed and seed, and toughening limits for allowable pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) contaminants. The move is expected to […]



Campaign Launched to Defend the Organic Food Label

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2014) Organic means healthier food production for you, the environment, and those who farm. So, ensuring that the public trusts the organic food label is critical to the growth of organic. Please join our Save Our Organic campaign to defend the organic food label from USDA changes. Unfortunately, the organic label will be undermined by changes that USDA announced on its website on March 6. These changes: Reduce the rigor of the ongoing decision making process on allowed synthetic materials in organic production; Take away transparency in the decision making process; Limit public participation in policies and procedures governing organic practices and standards; Undermine the responsibility of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and organic community to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on organic issues; Change organic policy making from one driven by the public process to one controlled by USDA, which can choose to dismiss critical issues. Trust in the organic label over the last 20 years has been built on principles of collaboration among the stakeholder groups (farmers, consumers, and producers) and USDA. Because of the democratic and open decision making process, public trust in the organic label has grown rapidly along with the […]



Survey Finds GE Contamination of Organic Farms

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2014) New data finds that organic farmers are growing increasingly concerned with genetically engineered (GE) crops cross-pollinating and contaminating their fields. This contamination can lead to serious economic losses for organic farmers and has created tension between neighbors. The data comes at a critical time as USDA is advancing the notion that “coexistence” between GE and non-GE growers  presents no problems for the  organic market.  USDA has been widely criticized in organic circles because its decisions to deregulate numerous GE crops  place  the burden of reducing contamination on non-GE growers. A survey,released by Food and Water Watch and Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), finds that a third of U.S. organic farmers have experienced GE contamination in their fields due to the nearby use of GE crops, while over half of these growers have had loads of grain rejected because of unwitting GE contamination. These rejections can lead to big income losses for farmers, with a  median cost of approximately $2,500 per year, according to the  survey. Additionally,  several farmers report annual losses of over $20,000 due to the need to establish buffer zones, while limit the threat of contamination from their neighbors by taking […]



Maine GE Labeling Bill Signed, Industry Pushes Federal Bill to Prohibit State Action

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2014)  A requirement to  label genetically engineered (GE) foods in the state of Maine is set to become law. The bill, LD718, “An act to protect Maine food consumers’ right to know about genetically engineered food and seed stock,” was passed by the state legislature in July 2013 by a vote in the House of Representatives of 141 to 4, and  with the Senates’ unanimous approval. The bill was then sent  to Governor Paul LePage (R-ME) and signed into law on Wednesday, January 8. Meanwhile, the conventional food industry is pushing legislation in Congress to prevent, or preempt,  states from adopting laws requiring labeling of GE foods. The Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA) praised the Maine law.  “We are thrilled that Governor LePage has signed the GMO labeling bill,” said MOFGA’s executive director Ted Quaday. “The time was right for a diverse and collaborative effort to take hold and move the discussion forward. People want and have the right to know what’s in their food.” Maine is the second state ””following the lead of Connecticut”” to pass labeling requirements for GE foods. Like Connecticut’s newly passed law, Maine’s GE bill, which contains a “trigger” […]



Ongoing Shutdown Creates Problems for Organic Community

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2013) The ongoing government shutdown is having dramatic impacts on the organic agricultural community. On October 10, it was announced that the semiannual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, scheduled in Louisville the week of October 21, has been canceled. During the NOSB’s semiannual meetings the board makes recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding materials on the National List of Allowed or Prohibited Substances in organic operations after considering input from the public. The meeting was to come on the heels of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the agency had changed the process for exempting synthetic materials. The shutdown has also affected the Farm Bill process that organic advocates are hoping will, in the least, restore organic programs from the 2008 Farm Bill. The shutdown has also raised several food safety questions about whether government can handle a recent salmonella outbreak. The semiannual NOSB meeting, previously scheduled for the week of October 21, in Louisville, Kentucky, has been canceled.   An e-mail distributed October 1 by Miles McEvoy for the National Organic Program, stated the meeting would be canceled if a Congress did not reach an agreement on the budget by […]



Send Your Comment to USDA: Stop Antibiotics in Organic Fruit Production, Allow Full Public Participation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2013) Don’t let USDA stop your voice from being heard on organic. The meaningfulness of the USDA organic label is threatened because the standards and public oversight governing organic are under attack. Say No to Antibiotics in Organic Fruit Production Help us make sure that the last antibiotic, streptomycin, is taken out of organic apple and pear production. Public action in spring 2013 resulted in a decision by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to support the phase out of tetracycline. With resistance to antibiotics rampant, organic should be helping to solve the problem. Ask for Organic Policy on Fish Farming before Approving Allowed Materials On fish farming or aquaculture, we don’t want intensive operations that pollute the environment and are not defined by organic systems that are protective of the aquatic environment. Let’s not let the NOSB approve synthetic chemicals that are used in factory fish farms without clear organic standards. Go to Beyond Pesticides Keeping Organic Strong webpage to learn more about these issues and provide a unique public comment. Protecting the Public’s Voice in Organic USDA has weakened the power of the NOSB and the voice of the public on the review and […]



USDA Guts Public Organic Review Process to Limit Synthetics

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2013) In a move decried by consumer and environmental groups as severely weakening the meaning of the organic label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that the agency has changed the process for exempting otherwise prohibited substances (such as synthetics) in food that carries the “organic” or “made with organic” label. This decision makes it easier to continue use of artificial ingredients and substances, undermining integrity of the organic label. Additionally, the changes are effective September 17, only one day after the announcement, and no public comment period was provided for the changes to this policy, which has been in place since 2005. Read the joint statement issued by Beyond Pesticides, Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, and Food and Water Watch. Under the federal organic law and prior to the announcement, there was a controlled process for allowing the use of substances not normally permitted in organic production because of extenuating circumstances. Under the Organic Foods Production Act 7 USC 6517 (e) Sunset Provision, “No exemption or prohibition contained in the National List shall be valid unless the National Organic Standards Board has reviewed such exemption or prohibition as provided in this […]



Take Action! Organic Comment Period Now Open Until October 1

(Beyond Pesticides, September 9, 2013) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is now accepting public comments until October 1, 2013 for its upcoming fall meeting, to be held October 22-24, 2013 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY  (140 North Fourth St., Louisville, KY, 40202). Beyond Pesticides has compiled a list of the issues before the Board, which can be viewed on the Keeping Organic Strong website. We strongly encourage all those concerned about the future of organic food to review the issues and submit a public comment to the NOSB. The 15 member Board meets twice a year to review substances petitioned for allowance on the “National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances” in organic production and processing. Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong website provides a number of resources for people to participate in the organic review process alongside the Board. Note that throughout the week, we will be updating the page with sample comments, Beyond Pesticides’ full comments to the Board, and comments from key stakeholders in the organic community. Written comments on the proposals can be submitted until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at regulations.gov. You can also attend the NOSB meeting in person […]



Oregon Blocks Canola Planting in Willamette Valley to Prevent GE Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2013) In a victory for consumers and Willamette Valley’s $50 million vegetable seed industry, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed HB 2427 last week, banning the commercial production of canola in the region until at least 2019. Supporters of the law assert that the moratorium is necessary to maintain the integrity of the region’s internationally recognized organic vegetable seed industry. Farmers in Oregon’s specialty seed and organic vegetable industries, valued at well over $50 million in annual sales, have been fighting the planting of  canola, an oilseed plant in the brassica family, in the Willamette Valley because it readily cross-pollinates with specialty crops grown there, the brassica specialty seed crops like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Canola can  spread plant diseases and pests to brassica vegetable and seed crops; and can contaminate pure lots of vegetable and clover seed, rendering them unsalable in international and local markets. Additionally, genetically engineered (GE)  herbicide resistant varieties of canola can further cross-pollinate with weeds, creating new invasive species problems as herbicide resistant traits spread to native weed populations. The canola controversy emerged after  a decision by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last year to temporarily allow the planting of GE […]



Thank You for Making Your Voice Heard on Organic!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2013) The spring meeting of the National Organic Standards Board just recently ended, and Beyond Pesticides is happy to report that the Board voted to stand by a 2014 expiration date for the use of tetracycline in organic apple and pear production. Six members on the Board voted to remove this antibiotic as soon as possible. The Board originally voted in 2011 to set the expiration date, but groups representing apple and pear growers in the northwest petitioned the NOSB for another extension, after years of repeated extensions. Additionally, the Board voted to set up a public docket to receive year-round communications from the public on issues that the public thinks should be addressed by the NOSB and the National Organic Program of USDA. And, the Board committed to reviewing all sub-ingredients in processed food to determine compatibility with organic standards under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). Beyond Pesticides has long pursued, as part of our mission, the widespread adoption of organic practices as the alternative to hazardous pesticides typically used in food production. Our organization is dedicated to ensuring the growth of organic through the building of consumer trust in production practices —that’s why […]



Act Before Midnight Tonight to Stop Antibiotic Use in Organic Apple and Pear Production

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2013) The phase-out of antibiotic use in apple and pear production may continue beyond 2014 unless the public speaks out. Luckily, unlike the closed-door meetings that surround the rulemaking process in other government agencies, organic regulations are unique because they include a key ingredient: you, the public. Twice a year, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) solicits comments from the public on materials petitioned for use in organic, and issues of concern to the organic community. Below is a brief summary of select issues and proposed materials that are up for review at the Spring 2013 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting. Your participation is vital as it will help determine the future of organic in the United States: Will antibiotics continue to be allowed in apple and pear production after years of delay? Will “inert” ingredients be reviewed after a workable policy for addressing them has now been developed? Will “other” ingredients continue to be surreptitiously added to organic food without review? Your input is needed before midnight on Tuesday, March 19 to ensure that the NOSB keeps these and other hazardous synthetic substances out of organics. These materials are dangerous to our health and […]



Speak Out for Organic Standards!

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2013) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invited the public to submit comments concerning changes to organic standards being proposed by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which will be voted on at the Board’s spring meeting on April 9-11,2013 in Portland, OR. The proposals will be open for public input until 11:59PM ET March 19, 2013. The documents under Board consideration can be found on the NOSB website along with further information on the meeting, as well as where and how to register for in-person comments or to submit written comments. See Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong webpage for more information on the upcoming issues and how to submit comments. We will be updating this webpage with our perspectives on the issues, so be sure to check back as new information is added. Public participation is vital to the development of organic standards, as we are all stakeholders in ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply. The public comment process represents the best opportunity for consumers, as well as farmers and processors, to have a voice as these standards are debated and adopted by the NOSB. To read the recommendations from the various NOSB […]



Take Action! National Organic Program Delays Compliance with Organic Law

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2012) The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) is proposing to delay compliance with National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) recommendations to disallow non-essential synthetic vitamins, minerals, and accessory nutrients in products certified as organic. An interim rule proposed by NOP will enable the continued illegal use of these ingredients in organic foods, which was allowed by a previous administration without the normally required NOSB ruling. This move represents a complete reversal by the NOP after the program had signaled its intent to comply with the law in rulemaking proposed earlier this year. The Organic Foods Production Act established the NOSB and vested the board with the responsibility to determine those synthetics that are allowed in certified organic under clear health and environmental standards with an assessment of substance essentiality. Beyond Pesticides urges that concerned citizens provide a public comment to USDA about this issue. (See below for sample letter.) Background In 2007 under the Bush Administration, NOP issued an overly broad interpretation of a NOSB recommendation that allowed synthetic nutrients deemed essential by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be added to organic food. However, in 2010 USDA acknowledged that this policy was invalid. Addressing the […]



Organic Board Sets Inerts Review, Approves Biodegradable Mulch, Rejects Synthetic Infant Formula Supplements, and More

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2012) At its October 15-18, 2012 Fall meeting in Providence, Rhode Island the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) conducted standards reviews affecting the integrity of organic food and farming and rejected proposals that would have weakened the standards. As it does twice a year, the NOSB (a 15-member board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and intended by Congress to represent all stakeholders in the organic sector, including farmers, certifiers, processors, retailers, consumers, environmentalists, and a scientist) met in public, received public comments, and voted on a range of topics from biodegradable bioplastic mulch, supplemental infant formula ingredients, inert ingredients in allowed pesticides, fertilizers, to allowed synthetic substances. The Board considered subcommittee recommendations that had been proposed by each of the issue subcommittees -including crops, livestock, handling, materials, policy development, and certification, accreditation, and compliance- and subject to a public comment period that preceded the meeting. There were several highly controversial issues discussed, including the addition of supplemental chemical nutrients to organic infant formula, the use and removal of biodegradable biobased-bioplastic mulch film, and the new review requirement for inert ingredients that are integral to allowed pesticide products. You can find details for the meeting on […]



Periodic Residue Testing to Begin in Organic Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2012) The National Organic Program (NOP) will now require organic certifiers to conduct periodic residue tests each year on at least 5% of the farms they certify, beginning in 2013. Periodic residue testing is required by the 1990 Organic Food Production Act (OFPA). This recent policy change comes after a 2010 audit of NOP by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Inspector General (IG). Periodic residue testing on organic farms originally was to begin in September of 2010, however, confusion over NOP’s initial testing rules resulted in only a small amount of periodic residue tests being conducted. The new rules on periodic residue testing mean that the independent agencies that certify organic farms must test up to 5% of the farms they oversee. Certifiers will test for pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms. Certifiers can test not only finished organic products, but also soil, water, waste, seeds, plant tissue, and processed product samples. Under OFPA, certifiers are required to test pre-and post-harvest residues even when there is no apparent problem. Although NOP’s revised rule on testing also eliminates the requirement for certifiers to report all test results, results must be kept by certifiers for at […]



The Solution to Pesticide Pollution? Keep Organic Growing! Public Comments Due by Sept. 24

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2012) Are you concerned about industry’s attacks on organic? Do you want to make sure that organic meets your expectations for safety and environmental protection? Do you care about the health of those who grow and harvest the food you eat? Do you want to keep hazardous synthetic substances out of organic food production and processing? Do you want to ensure that all ingredients, including “inert ingredients,” are reviewed? And that your concerns are heard by regulators through an open process with maximum public input? If so, then take a few minutes to let the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and USDA know what you think. Let it be your voice rather than your silence that influences the future of organic as it grows. Submit your comments by September 24, 2012. Keep Hazardous Synthetics Out of Organic Your voice is needed to ensure that the NOSB keeps out of organics synthetics that do not meet the core principles and values of organic because they are: (i) hazardous to the environment or people, (ii) incompatible with organic principles and systems, and (iii) not essential and therefore not needed to produce organic food. These core principles apply across […]



Speak Out as Input Period Opens on Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invited the public to submit comments concerning proposed changes to organic standards prior to the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) fall meeting on October 15-18, 2012 in Providence, RI. The proposals will be open for public input until 11:59pm Monday, September 24, 2012. The documents on these issues can be found on the NOSB website along with further information on the meeting, as well as where and how to register for in-person comments or to submit written comments. See Beyond Pesticides’ Fall 2012 Keeping Organic Strong webpage for more information on the upcoming issues and how to submit comments. We will be updating this webpage with our perspectives on the issues, so be sure to check back as new information is added. Public participation is vital to the development of organic standards, as we are all stakeholders in ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply. The public comment process represents the best opportunity for consumers, as well as farmers and processors, to have a voice as these standards are debated and adopted by the NOSB. To read all of the recommendations from the various NOSB subcommittees, go to […]



Organic Integrity Can Only Be Maintained Through Public Participation

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17th, 2012) On July 8, The New York Times ran an article indicting the organic food industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculgture (USDA) for their involvement in advancing a number of standards, practices, and decisions allowed under the organic label. The Times piece, “Has ”˜Organic’ Been Oversized?,” written by Stephanie Strom and featuring organic food industry critic and chief executive officer of Eden Foods, Michael Potter, concentrated on the outsized role large corporations have assumed economically through organic market share, and politically through the decisions of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). While the article reinforces organic advocates’ ongoing call for public vigilance, there is general agreement that organic offers consumers the safest place to spend their food dollars, the best protection for the environment and those who farm, and the highest degree of public input into the standard setting process. Beyond Pesticides’ Executive Director Jay Feldman, current NOSB member holding an environmentalist seat, wrote a response published in the Times article. Mr. Feldman said, “The article noted the involvement of big agriculture and food companies in establishing organic standards, as well as in several controversial decisions. But that discussion only diverts public attention from the […]



Results from Spring 2012 NOSB Meeting Available, Opening for Environmentalist Announced

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2012) In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met to decide on a range of issues concerning allowable materials and practices in certified organic farming. The recommendations adopted by the board have been sent on to USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) for incorporation into federal regulations. A webcast of the entire four day meeting can be viewed here. Additionally, NOP has provided a short summary of the meeting in their quarterly newsletter. On our Keeping Organic Strong action page, you will find summaries of the significant actions taken by the board at the meeting along with supporting documentation. Each issue is discussed separately, incorporating Beyond Pesticides’ positions on what the outcomes signify for the future of the organic movement. This was the first meeting to be chaired by the newly-elected NOSB chairman Barry Flamm, who holds an Environmentalist position on the Board. This was also the first meeting for the five newest NOSB members, who were appointed at the Fall 2011 meeting: Harold V. Austin, IV, Director of Orchard Administration for Zirkle Fruit Company (Handler position); Carmela Beck, National Organic Program Supervisor and Organic Certification Grower Liaison for Driscoll’s, an organic […]



Updated Organic Standards, Including Hops and Antibiotics, Become Regulation

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) has published a final rule in the Federal Register officially codifying into federal regulations changes to organic standards that were recommended by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) over the past year and a half. The changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) include the renewal of a number of substances already on the list, the removal of two substances, and specific changes to several others. Among the more notable changes to the organic standards made by the publication of this final rule is a hard fought victory for organic hops growers in the form of a new requirement that, beginning the first day of 2013, all hops used in organic beer production must be produced organically. Due to the “commercial availability” clause in the organic law, beer bearing the organic seal had previously been allowed to contain conventionally produced hops due to a perception that hops produced organically were not available in the necessary quantities. However, the American Organic Hop Grower Association petitioned the NOSB to remove this allowance on the basis that this would create increased demand for […]



Public Input Needed on Revised Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2012) The public comment period on proposals from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) regarding updates to standards governing organic food and farming remain open until then end of Thursday May 3, 2012. Beyond Pesticides has updated our Keeping Organic Strong web page with information on a number of issues that the board will consider at its meeting in Albuquerque, NM May 22-25, 2012. We have included links to the NOSB proposals which will be voted on and provided our perspective on these issues. We urge you to take a moment to voice your opinion on these proposals. You are welcome to use our suggestions to formulate your comments on each issue or to make them entirely original. Targeted comments on specific issues will be more effective than general comments regarding organic food as a whole. Public participation is vital to the development of organic standards, as we are all stakeholders in ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply. The public comment process represents the best opportunity for consumers, as well as farmers and processors, to have a voice as these standards are debated and adopted by the NOSB. Many of the proposed recommendations are available […]