USDA Issues Interim Instruction on Organic Material Review; Invites Public Comments

August 30, 2016

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of an interim instruction document, NOP 3012: Material Review, intended for use by USDA accredited certifying agents.  This instruction specifies the criteria and process that certifying agents must follow when approving substances for use in organic production and handling.

This instruction defines the term Material Review Organization (MRO) and materials, and describes the USDA organic regulations as they relate to materials reviews. Among other requirements, it also explains that certifiers must review all materials used by organic producers and handlers for compliance with the USDA organic regulations, and outlines options that certifiers have for determining whether materials may be used in organic production or handling.

In response to requests from the organic community for the opportunity to comment on Instructions, AMS is now introducing Interim Instructions.  Interim Instructions will be posted in the National Organic Program Handbook for certifier use, but will also be formally announced in the Federal Register to facilitate a formal comment period. 

AMS welcomes comments on the Interim Instruction by Oct. 31, 2016, using the following procedures:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Dr. Paul Lewis, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646—So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC  20250-0268.

View the Federal Register Notice.

View NOP 3012 in the National Organic Program Handbook.