NOSB Makes Its Recommendations for the ‘National List’

In a previous article, found here, we’ve talked a lot on this site about the importance of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and its influence on the ‘National List’, the list of ingredients banned in the use of organic products. Well, back in May of 2012 the NOSB released a set of recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP). Those recommendations were:

  1. Renew six material listings, three with recommended annotation changes, on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) scheduled to expire November 3, 2012
  2. Add choline and inositol to § 205.605(b) with restrictions
  3. Add citrus hystrix and curry leaf to § 205.606
  4. Develop guidance materials to material review organizations
  5. Transmit a letter to Secretary Vilsack regarding the establishment of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) ad-hoc NOSB sub-committee.
  6. Encourage USDA research agencies to prioritize funding for emerging organic research needs as recommended by NOSB on an annual basis
  7. Provide additional information to the NOSB on GMO vaccines

Recommendations 1-3 refer simply to changes to be made to the National List, which include important decisions, like the one to renew carrageenan’s current banned listing, but the ramifications of #5 on the list, possibly the baby steps towards a committee specifically looking at GMO’s, should be especially interesting looking into the future. Currently the role of GMO’s within the organic community is touchy at best, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s decision (as well as who gets to sit on the committee, should it be formed) could likely be a crucial turning point in the history of organics.

That was in May, and earlier this week the NOP released a memo in response to the NOSB’s recommendations, in which they, among other things, voted to indeed transmit a letter to Secretary Vilsack. You can read the entirety of the NOP’s memo back to the NOSB here, and I highly encourage you to. The NOP’s decisions concerning the list will be in effect until November 2017.