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Spring 2021 NOSB Meeting

National Organic Standards Board

Spring 2021 NOSB Meeting
Comment by April 5, 2021!

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets April 28-30 online to debate issues concerning what goes into your organic food.

From the very beginning, with the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, “organic” has meant “continuous improvement.” The primary mechanism for continuous improvement in organic production is the high level of public involvement that comes from twice-annual meetings of the stakeholder board.

The second mechanism is the sunset process, which helps move synthetic substances out of organic production as the market invests in growing organic inputs and ingredients. Despite USDA’s efforts to weaken the sunset process, the 5-year cycle of review of every synthetic substance currently used in organic production and processing, offers us an opportunity to keep organic strong and strengthen any weaknesses.

Items on the NOSB agenda in April include materials allowed in organic production, as well as discussion of policies and materials (petitions and sunsets) on which the NOSB will vote in the Fall. We have identified some priority issues of both kinds. The only voting issue on the NOSB agenda for this meeting is a petition that would allow the use of paper pots made of virgin paper as a planting aid. Discussion topics provide a good opportunity for the public to have input into framing the issues.


Priority Issues.

For more detailed analysis, scroll down to the description and links. For quick copy and paste, use the text below to comment at Regulations.gov. Add a personal message about why this is important to you at the top, if possible. 

Comment 1: The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is considering a petition to allow the antibiotic Kasugamycin to be used in organic apple and pear production. Earlier NOSB members struggled long and hard to erase the stigma of antibiotic use in organic fruit production—something that was left over from the transition of so many chemical-intensive fruit orchards after the Alar “scare” in which apple and apple products were contaminated with the cancer-causing plant growth regulator daminozide. Do we now want to step on that treadmill again? The reasons for rejecting the kasugamycin petition are the same as the reasons for eliminating the antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline in crop production.


Now that we have learned what a pandemic looks and feels like, with the astounding levels of infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, we must take serious steps to prevent another pandemic on the horizon—this one tied to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. An important article in The Lancet points to a “looming potential pandemic” resulting from a “rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, underdiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [which] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.”


When streptomycin and tetracycline were presented for their final votes by the Crops Subcommittee, the committee was unanimous that the antibiotics needed to go—the question was how fast. How fast could growers of these crops get over their dependence on these antibiotics that pose threats to human health and the environment and are unpopular with organic consumers? Streptomycin and tetracycline are gone, and we do not need another antibiotic.

 

Comment 2: Biodegradable Biobased Mulch Film (BBMF) was approved by the NOSB for use in organic production in October 2012, and the listing was finalized September 30, 2014 as “Biodegradable biobased mulch film as defined in §205.2. Must be produced without organisms or feedstock derived from excluded methods.” The definition required that BBMF meet specific requirements for compostability, biodegradation, and biobased content. Subsequently, the Organic Material Research Institute (OMRI) found that there are no products meeting all of the requirements set by the board. The NOSB is now considering a proposal to change the definition to allow BBMF that is not 100% biobased. BBMF is not removed from the field by the grower, but is tilled into the soil. The tillage process purposefully creates microplastics, with the intention that the action of soil organisms will degrade these small particles. However, as reported in OMRI’s 2016 Supplemental Technical Review, many growers report that fragments persist in the soil. OMRI reports research showing that the BBMFs do not completely degrade and may degrade more slowly when tilled under the surface, that they contain components that may be hazardous, and particles may adsorb persistent toxins. Microplastics may be incorporated into plant and animal tissues. Organic mulches have always been a central aspect of organic production, and reliance on synthetic mulches for functions that can be performed by organic mulch is not compatible with organic production. The NOSB should not redefine BBMF in a way that encourages microplastic contamination of the soil.


Comment 3: Ion exchange is a reaction in which an element from the treated substance is removed and replaced by a different element. Although the most familiar example of ion exchange is water softening, in which the “hard” minerals calcium and magnesium are replaced with sodium, the technology is widely used in food processing. Food processors run liquids, such as sugar cane juice, through a column of plastic beads charged with a substance that replaces an undesirable substance in the liquid with a different chemical. Ion exchange produces a chemical change in the food, which can subsequently only be regarded as synthetic under organic rules—and, therefore, be limited to less than 5% in food labeled “organic.” Products treated with ion exchange must be treated as synthetic substances. Resins and recharge chemicals must be on the product label

 

 

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Spring 2021 NOSB Meeting

The Spring 2021 NOSB meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by April 5, 2021. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label.

When: Wednesday April 28,  Thursday April 29, and Friday April 30th,202. 

Where: The meeting will be held online on (Meeting access information will be added, please check back.)

Webinars: Comments may be submitted at Webinars on April 20th and 2nnd, 2021. More information about accessing the webinars is available on the NOSB website.

Written comments may be submitted through Regulations.gov until 11:59 pm ET April 5, 2020. Reservations for oral webinar comments close at the same time.

The proposals of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), as a part of its ongoing review of practices and materials, are published for public comment. The public comment period will end April 3, 2020. On this page, Beyond Pesticides will be providing the public with a listing and analysis of the issues under consideration of the Board on our website pages. You can view USDA's announcement of the NOSB's meeting and proposals here. Please see Beyond Pesticides' analysis below (and more coming soon).

Issues Before the NOSB for Spring 2021

Materials in the list below are either the subject of petitions or the subject of sunset review. Petitioned materials must have evidence summarized in the proposals that they meet the OFPA requirements of essentiality, no adverse effects on humans and the environment, and compatibility with organic practices. Sunset items are already on the National List, and being considered for delisting. They are subject to the same criteria, but are being considered under NOP's new rules.

The NOSB will vote on materials subject to sunset review at the Fall 2020 meeting.

To truly make an impact in the future of organic, Beyond Pesticides encourages you to:

**On certain browsers, it may be necessary to download a PDF version of Beyond Pesticides' comments in order to view the navigation pane**

Compliance, Accreditation, and Certification Subcommittee

Crops Subcommittee

Handling Subcommittee

Livestock Subcommittee

Materials Subcommittee

 

Draft Meeting Agenda

 

 

Take Action at Regulations.gov!
(Comments Due April 5, 2021!)

 

See All Comments So Far

 

See Beyond Pesticides' Commenting Guidelines

 

See All Meeting Materials and Issues

 

The Organic Foods Production Act

Proposals
  • Inspectors

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background: Due to a universal acknowledgement that there is a decreasing number of qualified individuals who desire to be organic inspectors and reviewers, leading to a potential crisis in the
      inspection/reviewer pool of qualified individuals, the Compliance Accreditation and Certification Subcommittee (CACS) issued a discussion document exploring strategies for recruiting and maintaining competent highly trained inspector and reviewer teams. Here they discuss responses and suggest training opportunities.
      There is a disconnect between challenges reported by inspectors and the strategies suggested
      by the subcommittee. In particular, many of the challenges reported by inspectors concerned
      compensation—monetary and otherwise—for the job. Other challenges had to do with job
      expectations. These issues were not addressed by the CACS and should be at the forefront of
      any proposal that moves forward.

Discussion Documents

  • Board Support

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background: The work of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) requires a great deal of time, commitment, and expertise (and/or willingness to learn). For many, if not most, NOSB
      members, NOSB work is added to a full-time job. While some people may be relieved from
      other duties—thereby essentially being paid to be a board member—others are not. Working
      farmers are unlikely to have relief, which makes it difficult to recruit them to serve.

The CACS asks how NOSB members may be supported in their work. Support may come
in several forms:
1. NOSB members may have connections with people whom they could hire as research
assistants.
2. NOP could assist NOSB members to find a research assistant at an independent
institution, like a university.
3. NOP could provide NOSB with access to an open docket.
4. NOP could provide people to work as research assistants for NOSB members.

NOSB members should not be limited to a single mechanism, but options that preserve the
independence of NOSB members are preferable. NOSB members should bring and be provided
all the resources to support their critical role in guiding the growth and integrity of organic
standards. Regardless of other options, the open docket recommended by the NOSB in 2013
should be provided. It would ensure transparency as NOSB subcommittees deliberate.
However, the current practice is one that prohibits NOSB members from sharing drafts and
deliberations except through the mechanism of highly cleansed subcommittee notes. This
practice stands in the way of adopting any of the mechanisms that give independence to NOSB
members. Since petitions no longer contain confidential business information, there is no
excuse for secrecy in subcommittee deliberations.

Back to the table of contents

 

Proposals

  • Paper Pots

    • Beyond Pesticides’ comments
    • Submit your own comments here
    • Background:  The proposal from the CS is not satisfactory. The annotation should be based on the best available product(s). The annotation should address these issues:
      1. Virgin paper from wood pulp should be excluded. The NOSB should determine which alternative sources of cellulose would be acceptable and annotate accordingly.
      2. Only nonsynthetic reinforcement fibers should be allowed.
      3. Only adhesives that biodegrade completely to nontoxic byproducts should be allowed.

The NOSB should require that the 15% allowance for nonbiobased components
be revisited during sunset. The only way we know to ensure this is to place an
expiration date on the listing.

  • Biodegradable biobased mulch annotation change

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comments here
    • Background: Biodegradable Biobased Mulch Film (BBMF) was approved by the NOSB for use in organic production in October 2012, and the listing was finalized September 30, 2014 as “Biodegradable biobased mulch film as defined in §205.2. Must be produced without organisms or feedstock derived from excluded methods.” The definition required that BBMF meet specific requirements for compostability, biodegradation, and biobased content. Subsequently, the Organic Material Research Institute (OMRI) found that there are no products meeting all of the requirements set by the board. The NOSB is now considering a proposal to change the definition to allow BBMF that is not 100% biobased. BBMF is not removed from the field by the grower, but is tilled into the soil. The tillage process purposefully creates microplastics, with the intention that the action of soil organisms will degrade these small particles. However, many growers report that fragments persist in the soil. Research shows that the BBMFs do not completely degrade and may degrade more  slowly when tilled under the surface, that they contain components that may be hazardous, and particles may adsorb persistent toxins.  Microplastics may be incorporated into plant and animal tissues.

Organic mulches have always been a central aspect of organic production, and reliance on synthetic mulches for functions that can be performed by organic mulch is not compatible with organic production. The NOSB should not redefine BBMF in a way that encourages microplastic contamination of the soil.

Petitioned Discussion

  • Ammonia Extract

    • Beyond Pesticides’ comments
    • Submit your own comments here
    • Background: Nonsynthetic ammonia extracts should be listed on §205.602 as prohibited nonsynthetic inputs, as requested by the petitioner. Ammonia extracts—synthetic or nonsynthetic—are harmful to soil organisms and inconsistent with organic production. While the use of synthetic ammonia extracts can be prevented by merely not listing them on §205.601, the use of nonsynthetic ammonia extracts can be prevented only by listing them on §205.602.
  • Kasugamycin

    • Beyond Pesticides’ comments
    • Submit your own comments here
    • Background: The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is considering a petition to allow the antibiotic kasugamycin to be used in organic apple and pear production. Earlier NOSB members struggled long and hard to erase the stigma of antibiotic use in organic fruit production—something that was left over from the transition of so many chemicalintensive fruit orchards after the Alar “scare” in which apple and apple products were contaminated with the cancer-causing plant growth regulator daminozide. Do we now want to step on that treadmill again? The reasons for rejecting the kasugamycin petition are the same as the reasons for eliminating the antibiotics streptomycin and tetracycline in crop production.
      Now that we have learned what a pandemic looks and feels like, with the astounding levels of infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, we must take serious steps to prevent another pandemic on the horizon—this one tied to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. An important article in The Lancet points to a “looming potential pandemic” resulting from a “rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, underdiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [which] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.”
      When streptomycin and tetracycline were presented for their final votes by the Crops Subcommittee, the committee was unanimous that the antibiotics needed to go—the question was how fast. How fast could growers of these crops get over their dependence on these antibiotics that pose threats to human health and the environment and are unpopular with organic consumers? Streptomycin and tetracycline are gone, and we do not need another antibiotic.

Sunset

    • Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop prodction:

      Copper sulfate

      Background: Copper sulfate should be sunsetted from organic production. The annotation—which recognizes the toxicity of copper in the soil—is one indicator that copper sulfate should not remain on the National List forever. Even more important are the data on ecotoxicity. The toxic effects on the aquatic and semi-aquatic organisms who inhabit rice paddies as a substitute for natural  wetlands make copper sulfate incompatible with organic production and unacceptable to organic consumers. It is time to phase out this toxic chemical from organic production.

Ozone gas

Background: Ozone has high acute toxicity. The use of ozone may be seriously detrimental to the
health of humans who work with it, and those exposed indirectly, downwind of exposure. The NOSB needs to take a comprehensive look at all sanitizers, their needs, and evaluate whether all needs can be met with materials that have low impacts on human health and the environment. In view of the dangers associated with the use of ozone, the Crops Subcommittee should ask:

1. Does the use of ozone in organic crop production pose a hazard for workers?
2. Would restrictions on the use of ozone (annotation) help protect workers?

Peracetic acid

Background: According to EPA, “High concentrations of peroxy compounds [including peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide] are … corrosive and can be acutely toxic and/or extremely irritating to the
lungs and skin.” The NOSB needs to take a comprehensive look at all sanitizers, their needs, and
evaluate whether all needs can be met with materials that have low impacts on human health and the environment. The NOSB should address these questions regarding peracetic acid:

1. Does the annotation need to be changed to reflect the TR findings that not all
substances identified as “peracetic acid” are permitted under NOP regulations—to, for
example, limit the use to certain forms?
2. Is there new information about occupational hazards that should be taken into account
in the sunset decision and/or in formulating an additional annotation?
3. Can peracetic acid be used for fireblight without harm to soil and workers?
4. Is peracetic acid effective for all uses of chlorine? If peracetic acid remains on the
National List, can chlorine be eliminated from use in organic production?

EPA List 3 - Innerts of unknown toxicity

Background: One of the most egregious failures of NOP has been its repeated lack of action on so-called “inert” ingredients. Because of that failure, every sunset brings a new NOSB a listing that has not been changed in response to over a decade of NOSB recommendations. EPA has long since (2006) stopped updating the “inerts” lists. The NOSB, which has been demanding since 2007 to review individual “inert” ingredients, has instead been given the option of relisting the outdated lists.

List 3 “inerts” should not be relisted again. The identities of the former list 3 “inerts” used in organic production are known, and they should be examined in accordance with OFPA criteria.

The NOSB has already recommended an expiration date for these chemicals. In the spring of 2012, the NOSB passed a motion to change the listing to:

Inert ingredients exempt from the requirement of a tolerance under 40 CFR 180.1122 that
were formerly on EPA List 3 in passive polymeric dispenser products may be used until
December 31, 2015, after which point they are subject to individual review under 205.601,
unless already covered by a policy adopted by the NOP for all other inert ingredients.

NOP refused to codify this recommendation. In doing so, NOP has violated OFPA §6517(d)
(2) “No additions. The Secretary may not include exemptions for the use of specific
synthetic substances in the National List other than those exemptions contained in the
Proposed National List or Proposed Amendments to the National List.”

Chlorine materials

Background: The fact that use of chlorine is so universally associated with the production of
persistent toxic chemicals has led some environmental groups to seek a ban on chlorine-based
chemicals. Organic production should, for the same reasons, avoid the use of chlorine as much as possible. The allowance of chlorine in the rule reflects the fact that many organic growers— like most of the rest of us— depend on water sources that have been treated with chlorine, but they should not add more chlorine to organic food and the environment. The NOSB should address the following questions:

1. Are there (crop-related) uses of chlorine materials that are required by other laws?
2. Are there uses of chlorine materials that are essential in organic crop production?
3. Are there uses of chlorine materials in organic crop production for which other materials
must be approved?

Magnesium oxide

Background: Magnesium oxide is a relatively benign substance that has a wide range of uses. In this
use, a small addition of magnesium oxide to a clay suspension agent prevents the settling of finely ground humates in liquid. The approval of magnesium oxide permits the use of natural humates in a liquid formulation, but it is still preferable to add humates through soil-building practices (including composting), and we urge that the certification of organic system plans recognize that tools like this should not become a crutch on which there is continuous reliance. Moreover, although magnesium oxide is relatively benign, its manufacture creates pollution or depends on polluting industries. The NOSB should address these questions:

1. Are liquid humates (and hence magnesium oxide) still needed?
2. Is it possible to obtain magnesium oxide whose manufacture does not use sulfuric or
hydrochloric acid?

Calcium chloride

Background: The listing allows natural calcium chloride to be used “as a foliar spray to treat a
physiological disorder associated with calcium uptake.” The NOSB should investigate alternatives, including the choice of cultivar

Rotenone

Background: Even though the Environmental Protection Agency’s registration for rotenone was voluntarily cancelled for all uses except as a piscicide in 2006—and thus rotenone is not allowed in organic production in the U.S.—there is a widespread misconception that organic farmers still use it.
Organic agriculture is widely criticized for still using rotenone, which is associated with Parkinson’s disease and other central nervous system damage. Products grown outside the U.S. and sold here, which would not be affected by EPA’s registration decisions now must be grown without rotenone, so this prohibition should remain in the regulations.

Back to the table of contents

 

Proposals
  • Ion Exchange

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background: We agree with the National Organic Program (NOP) that it is time to clarify the role that ion exchange resins should play in organic food processing. The NOSB should recommend that onlyresins and their associated recharge materials approved for this use areallowed in organic food processing.Chemicals added during the ion exchange process must be listed on the label.Foodsand ingredientstreated with ion exchangeshould be classified as synthetic. As the HS statesin its proposal, “The NOP has determined, and some Materials Review Organizations have agreed, that the ion exchange process is a chemical one and does affect the food in a waythat chemically changes it.”

The NOSB should find that food processedby ion exchange is synthetic.Ingredientsprocessed with ion exchangemust not be used in organic or made with organic foodunless they appear on the NLfor the purpose. The corollary is that foods processed usingion exchange should not belabeled organic. In addition, the NOSB should recommend that only resins and their associated recharge materials approved for this use should be allowed in organic food processing, and only when approved for listing on §205.605(b).Chemicals added during the ion exchange process must be listed on the label.

Petitioned Discussion Documents

  • ZEIN

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background: The NOSB has received a petition to list zein, a product of nonorganic corn protein, on §606 of the National List. New materials should not be added to §606. Everything that is produced nonorganically can be produced organically. Although the specific petitioned use is as a food  coating, the petition identifies a number of uses for zein: as an ingredient and as a processing aid,
      including as a glaze, coating, taste masker, wheat gluten substitute, and for use in micro- or nano-encapsulation. Since zein as petitioned is synthetic, it does not belong on §606, the listing for “nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as ‘organic.’” Since it is made from nonorganic corn, it does not belong in organic food.

Discussion Documents

Sunset

Agar-agar

Background: Agar (or agar-agar) may be nonsynthetic or synthetic. Nonsynthetic agar is made from Gellidium species of seaweed. It may be pretreated with an acid (vinegar or a mineral acid) to improve penetration. Synthetic agar is made from Graciliara species, which is subject to alkaline pretreatment to bring about a chemical change in the polysaccharides (L-galactose-6-sulfate groups are converted to 3,6-anhydro-L-galactose), producing agar with increased gel strength. The technical review lists a number of substitutes. If the NOSB decides to relist agar, it should relist only nonsynthetic agar is made from Gellidium species.

Animal Enzymes

Background: The provided summary and the technical reviews—which address only rennet and egg whitelysozyme—are inadequate to support this listing. A more thorough examination is required to
 support relisting.

Calcium Sulfaate-mined

Background: Sufficient evidence has not been presented to support the use of calcium sulfate for all food uses. Therefore, the NOSB should consider renewing the listing of calcium sulfate with the annotation, “For use only as a coagulant in bean curd (tofu and similar products),” and only after reevaluating the environmental impacts

Currageenan

Background: Carrageenan should be removed from the National List. The evidence summarized by the 2015 Technical Review came up with a verdict of mixed results on virtually every issue regarding food grade (high molecular weight) carrageenan. However, there is widespread agreement that
poligeenan, which contaminates food grade carrageenan at unknown and uncontrollable levels, does cause adverse effects, including cancer. The production causes adverse environmental impacts. And it is not necessary –organic processors have been moving away from the use of
carrageen because of consumer pressure since it was last considered for sunset. This is made more urgent by the fact that the National Organic Program ignored the recommendation of the NOSB in spring of 2012 to remove carrageenan from infant foods.

Glucono delta-lactone

Background: The current annotation— “production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited”—was added to ensure that glucono delta-lactone would be produced by microbial or enzymatic processes and hence be nonsynthetic. However, the 2016 technical review (TR) states, “There are many chemical methods of gluconic acid synthesis other than bromine water.” Hence, the current annotation is not sufficient to ensure that the glucono delta-lactone (GDL) in use in organic processing is nonsynthetic. It also states that some enzymes used in the production of GDL may be genetically engineered. The NOSB should not relist GDL without an annotation change to correct these issues.

Tartaric acid

Background: The HS should investigate whether tartaric acid from organic grape wine is available or
would be available if this listing did not discourage its use. Since tartaric acid is a waste product from winemaking, its sale could provide additional revenue to organic vintners

Cellulose

Background: Cellulose may be derived from many sources, but the usual source is wood pulp. The
production of wood pulp involves the clearing of natural ecosystems, which threatens biodiversity, high energy use, and emission of pollutants into the air and water. The 2016 technical review identified alternative materials and practices for all listed uses of cellulose. The NOSB should ask whether cellulose is necessary for organic production and whether alternatives are available that cause less damage in their production.

Chlorine materials

Background: Organic production and handling should be, to the extent possible, chlorine-free. The NOSB should perform a comprehensive review of all sanitizers and disinfectants to determine the needs of organic production and handling and the safest materials.

Potassium hydroxide

Background: Potassium hydroxide is a hazardous material, possibly (with sodium hydroxide) one of
the most hazardous and toxic on the National List. The 2016 TR does not seem to have resolved the issue of the essentiality for potassium hydroxide in processing peaches, but the essentiality of other allowed uses also needs to be examined. The NOSB must address the following questions: For what purposes is potassium hydroxide used in organic processing? What are the alternatives for those uses? Is further annotation necessary?

Silicon dioxide

Backgrouind: In 2011, the NOSB voted to annotate the listing to recognize and encourage the use of organic rice hulls as an alternative for most uses of silicon dioxide. The NOSB recommended the following annotation: “Allowed for use as a defoamer. May be used in other applications when non-synthetic alternatives are not commercially available.’’ The NOP proposed and put into regulation instead this annotation: “Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.” The annotation in the final rule is less restrictive than the NOSB recommendation, and therefore allows the use of the synthetic silicon dioxide in cases where there is a nonsynthetic alternative other than organic rice hulls,” which is contrary to OFPA §6517(d)(2). According to the 2010 Technical Review (TR), other plant materials may be the basis for biogenic silica products. Therefore, the NOSB should revisit the annotation to determine whether it should be changed to the language as originally passed by the NOSB.

Potassium lactate and Sodium lactate

Background: The use of sodium lactate and potassium lactate for the listed use is prohibited by organic regulations at §205.600(b)(4). Potassium lactate and sodium lactate are unnecessary. They are synthetic chemicals used for purposes not allowed in organic processing. Therefore, they should not be relisted.

Back to the table of contents

 

Sunset

Activated Charcoal

Background: Activated charcoal is used as the preferred therapeutic treatment as needed for treatment of suspected poisoning by plants or moldy silage. Activated charcoal removes toxic chemicals by adsorption. It is then excreted. In view of this action, activated charcoal should be
annotated to include proper handling of manure after treatment.

Calcium borgluconate

Background: These calculations in the technical review suggest that a withdrawal period should be established. In addition, boron, boric acid, and borates have recently been classified as reproductive and  developmental toxicants.

Calcium propionate

Background: A number of concerns were raised by the Technical Advisory Panel in 2002. They need to beaddressed by a new technical review before the NOSB votes on whether to relist calcium
 propionate in the Fall.

Cholorine materials

Background: While the uses of disinfectants vary so that no one method or material is likely to be effective in all cases, there are numerous alternative methods and materials that should allow organic producers and handlers to avoid the use of the most toxic materials—in particular, those containing chlorine. Regarding alternative materials for teat dips, the iodine technical review says, “The available information suggests that commercial antimicrobial products containing oxidizing chemicals (e.g., sodium chlorite, hypochlorite, iodophor), natural products composed of organic acids (e.g., lactic acid), and homemade products using vinegar (i.e., acetic acid) as the active ingredient may all be equally effective teat dip treatments.” The active ingredients identified by EPA’s Design for the Environment are safer and effective alternatives.

Kaolin pectin

Background: Kaolin pectin is used as an adsorbent, antidiarrheal, and gut protectant in organic livestock production. There has been recent discussion of pectin by the NOSB as it is used in organic
food processing, particularly relating to its classification. If pectin is non-amidated, then kaolin pectin is nonsynthetic and should not be listed. 

Mineral oil

There are issues to address before the relisting vote in the Fall. The FDA does not approve of this use, so how can it be allowed by NOP? Can the mineral oil listing be annotated to require a high degree of purity? Can vegetable oil be substituted?

Nutritive supplements

Livestock feed should rarely need supplementation with synthetic vitamins, so it should be made clear that all synthetic vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes may be provided only as medical treatments.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is allowed for treating ketosis. A recent technical review is not available, but one respected organic veterinarian gives a number of suggestions for prevention (maintaining a high-energy diet before calving, including dry long-stemmed hay) and treatment (glucose IV, homeopathic lycopodium, molasses, and Wellness Tonic containing apple cider vinegar and aloe vera, with tinctures of rose hips, dandelion root and plantain).

Sodium chlorite

Acidified sodium chlorite is used as a teat dip. According to the technical review, “The available information suggests that commercial antimicrobial products containing oxidizing chemicals (e.g., sodium chlorite, hypochlorite, iodophor), natural products composed of organic acids (e.g., lactic acid), and homemade products using vinegar (i.e., acetic acid) as the active ingredient may all be equally effective teat dip treatments.” Organic production should move away from hazardous  chlorine products.

Zinc sulfate

Zinc sulfate is used as a walk-through footbath, with spent liquid spread on fields with manure. If the NOSB decides to relist zinc sulfate, it should recommend an additional annotation comparable to the annotation for coppers in crops, requiring that zinc sulfate must be used and disposed of in a  manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil, as shown by routine soil testing.

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Discussion Documents

  • Research Priorities

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background: Research is urgently needed to ensure the safety, integrity, and growth of organic food, especially for our youngest and most vulnerable consumers. In the face of findings of substantial levels of the heavy metals arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in infant foods— both organic and nonorganic —research is needed to examine potential sources of contamination: 0rganic crop and livestock production practices and the land; National List ingredients; processing and handling processes; and packaging materials.
  • Excluded Methods Determinations

    • Beyond Pesticides' comments
    • Submit your own comment here
    • Background; It is disappointing that the NOSB appears to be falling behind in addressing excluded methods.New genetic manipulation techniques are being introduced at an increasingly rapid pace. The  framework and findings put in place by the NOSB should be formally adopted by the NOP and codified as a guidance document.

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