How the national list works

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 established the 15-member National Organic Standards Board appointed by the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture.
The board recommends to the secretary whether a substance should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling. The act authorized a national list of allowed and prohibited substances for organic certification.
In order to remain on this list beyond five years, a substance must be reviewed and recommended by the board and adopted by the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture. Since the national list of 170 substances was implemented Oct. 21, 2002, the review process must be completed by Oct. 21, 2007.
The board recommended the Agriculture Secretary continue 143 of the substances at its November 2005 meeting. Thus, the April meeting continued the “sunset” review. (Of the 29 substances considered at the April meeting, several pertained to organic food processing. Flavors were renewed, both bleached and unbleached lecithins were not recommended and colors were deferred.) Petitions, particularly for types of colors, are sought as soon as possible.
The National Organic Program will continue its work and the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture will issue the final rulings in the Federal Register.
Newly appointed board member Jeff Moyer summarizes the goals of the board. He hopes the vote on each material is viewed as steering the industry to find non-synthetic materials to replace those on the national list or simply remove unneeded ones.
Although aware that the industry currently depends on these materials, and he recognizes that is why they are allowed, Moyer says the goal must be constant improvement and evaluation as each material goes through the sunset process.

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