What is “Sunset?”
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) must review every substance on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years to confirm that it continues to meet all required criteria. This review is called “sunset review.”
What Does the NOSB Review?
During this 5-year review, the NOSB reviews the substance, public comments, and any new information concerning the substance. This could include reviewing any new information about the substance’s impact to human health or the environment, any new proven, natural alternatives, or other criteria under the Organic Foods Production Act.
What Happens Next?
If the NOSB confirms the substance continues to meet required criteria, then the NOSB’s review of that substance is complete. USDA may then publish a Federal Register notice announcing the listing will remain active for five years.
If the NOSB determines the substance no longer meets required criteria, it can take a vote to remove the substance. If two thirds of the NOSB agree with the new data, then the NOSB may recommend the substance’s removal from the National List. If USDA accepts the NOSB’s recommendation, then USDA may initiate rulemaking to remove the substance from the National List. This process includes an additional opportunity for public comments.
Learn More about Sunset Review
- Federal Register Notice (pdf) - Explains details of the sunset process.
- Questions and Answers (pdf) - Examines additional aspects of the sunset process.
- Memo to the NOSB (pdf) - Clarifies the NOSB’s implementation of the sunset process, plus an example identifying which substances are up for review.