NOSB Recap Fall 2018

Remember the biannual NOSB meeting that took place in October? Well, here’s a recap of what happened. If you need some background, you can read my earlier post on Organic standards.

  • Paper pots can continue to be used as a farming aid. Yes, this is a real topic of discussion.
  • Two recommendations were passed to strengthen oversight of organic standards and protect against fraud. These relate to identifying risk factors and inspector training.
  • A recommendation to improving sourcing and use of organic seeds was passed.
  • Embryo rescue in plants will not be considered an excluded method because it doesn’t use genetic engineering techniques.

What changes were made to the National List?

  • Sucrose Octanoate Esters were removed since there are currently no products containing it registered with the EPA. It’s often used in Brazilian honey production, but the beekeepers didn’t submit any comments.
  • Sodium Citrate was approved as an anticoagulant in dried blood meal. This was done with hesitation, because NOSB doesn’t typically look at processing aids. They are concerned that they will now have to review ALL of them, but we will have to wait and see on that.
  • Natamycin, a common fungal inhibitor, has been prohibited due to the potential for antibiotic resistance.
  • Sodium chlorite, a disinfectant that produces chlorine dioxide gas, was rejected for use due to health concerns.
  • Proposals to add Ethiopian pepper and Japones pepper were rejected, because there was not enough proof of an attempt to develop an organic supply chain. If these were added to the National List, non-organic forms would be allowed with use of the USDA Organic seal when organic forms aren’t available.
  • Non-organic tramarind seed gum has been approved for use when organic forms aren’t available. Though most trees are grown in the wild, this should be temporary while an organic supply chain is developed.

NOSB also proposes research priorities each year in the Fall. There are a lot of them, including the use of methionine in poultry production, decomposition of bio-based mulch film, alternatives to BPA, and the production of celery powder for cured meats.

These proposals, additions, and rejections by NOSB are recommendations which will go to the USDA for official rule-making. It’s a long pipeline, but pretty straightforward. The next meeting will take place in Seattle the last week of April. I’ll have a post on topics they will cover closer to the date. Hope this was helpful. Until next time!

Image By: Alexius Horatius

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