USDA Responds to NOSB Recommendations

May 23, 2005

2 Min Read
USDA Responds to NOSB Recommendations

USDA Responds to NOSB Recommendations

WASHINGTON-- On April 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through itsAgricultural Marketing Service (AMS) agency, released its policy statementresponse to feedback from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on variouscontroversial issues related to the agencys National Organic Program (NOP).In a posting on its Web site (, AMS outlined the NOSBsuggestions, along with the agencys responses and future considerations forfour separate issues, including fishmeal as a feed additive, unknown inertingredients in pesticides, antibiotic use in certified organic livestock and thescope of NOP regulations.

For the most part, the agency concurred with NOSB suggestions, including theapproval for non-synthetic fishmeal as a feed additive; the restriction ofinerts in pesticides to existing and approved ingredients; and the prohibitionof antibiotic use in organic livestock. The agency also agreed to establish atask force to develop organic standards for farm-raised and wild-caught fish andseafood; to address the issues of time involved in conversion of conventionallivestock to organic; to form a pet food task force to consider organic labelingof pet products; and to pursue additional rulemaking to cover certification ofmushroom, apicultural and greenhouse operations.

The one response that disappointed the organic industry was the reiterationthat the agency will continue to exclude personal care, cosmetics and dietarysupplements from the NOP. According to the agencys statement, while organicagricultural ingredients in such non-NOP products may be represented as organic,the finished products can not be NOPcertified, but can seek certification fromprivate organizations.

In response to the agencys posting, the Organic Trade Association (OTA)expressed its appreciation of the USDAs willingness to work with NOSB andpublicly post its response to the debated issues. However, OTA was disappointedin USDAs position on prohibiting personal care products and cosmetics fromusing the USDA Organic seal even if companies meet NOP standards. Thisis very disappointing to those companies that have worked diligently to becomecertified, said Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of OTA. Fortunately,OTAs efforts to develop standards for organic personal care products arenearing completion. She explained OTA will encourage companies to use thesestandards and will pursue legislative options that could bring assurance toconsumers and create a level playing field for affected manufacturers.

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