USDA Publishes 2017 Sunset Review Proposed Rule

January 17, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a proposed rule to implement the 2017 sunset review recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

Based on the NOSB's recommendations, USDA is proposing to remove three synthetic substances and eight nonorganic agricultural substances from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substance (National List) for use in organic production and handling.  Upon removal from the National List, use of the 11 substances in organic production or handling would be prohibited. The prohibitions would take effect on the sunset date of June 27, 2017.

The proposed rule will publish in the Jan. 18, 2017, Federal RegisterComments must be received by March 20, 2017.

Interested persons may comment on the proposed rule using the following procedures:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Search for AMS-NOP-16-0052 and then follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Robert Pooler, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 2642-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268.

The NOSB, a 15-member Federal advisory committee appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, must review all substances on the National List every five years.

The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used in organic crop and livestock production. The USDA organic regulations allow most natural substances and prohibit synthetic substances in organic farming, except those included on the National List. The National List also identifies the nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be allowed as minor ingredients (5 percent or less of total ingredients) in processed organic products.

National Organic Program