Current NOSB Issues:

Sunset Review Process (October 2010 meeting)

Sunset Review, the process of reviewing substances on the NOP's National List every five years, is mandated by the Organic Foods Production Act. Under the policy, if a substance is not reviewed it would automatically be removed from the list. To remain on the list, 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 recommendation strengthens the review process and give the NOSB the ability to add or change annotations on listed materials.

The policy recommendation addresses three areas of attention that are central to a comprehensive sunset review.

1. Thorough and comprehensive review. Sunset review must be a rigorous and comprehensive review process that is supported by a technical review document and public input that reevaluates and updates previous findings to ensure that a decision to renew or restrict a currently listed material is fully informed and in compliance with the statutory standards.

2. Listed materials subject to sunset review. Allowed materials under §205.601 and §205.603, §205.605, and §205.606 are sunsetted or removed from the National List unless the Board takes affirmative action to retain their uses. Similarly, prohibited uses under sections §205.602 and §205.604 will sunset unless the the Board  takes action to relist.

3. Annotations. The ability to add or change annotations (restrictions) on applicable National List materials may be important to the Board’s sunset decision, given changes in the use patterns of allowed materials and scientific understanding. Sunset decisions by the Board are arrived at through a two-step consecutive process that separates the decision on annotations from the final sunset decision. Under this process, first the assigned committee and then the Board reviews the technical review document(s) and public input to determine whether the material continues to comply with the statutory standards. If the committee identifies the need for a use restriction or clarification, it may propose the annotation in the form of an amendment to a motion to renew. The committee and subsequently the Board will first take up the annotation amendment and then vote on the material’s renewal. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed final sunset decision. An annotation to expand the use of a substance cannot be done through the sunset review process.

Read the NOSB Policy Development Committee's Sunset Review Process Policy Proposal (August 28, 2010)