USDA organics meeting to review permitted ingredients
to examine whether certain substances should continue to be
permitted for use in organic food production.
Ingredients to be reviewed at the November 28 meeting include agar-agar, animal enzymes, calcium sulfate, and glucono delta-lactone, and cellulose. The meeting will also consider the proposal to allow gellan gum and grape seed extract for use in organic food production. NOSB, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), was established to make recommendations about whether a substance should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, and to assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production. The board was set up in 1990 as part of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), which also authorizes the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. OFPA sets out that no substance may remain on this National List - or remain prohibited from it - for more than five years without being reviewed. This expiration is commonly referred to as sunset of the National List. The board's meeting next month will examine the status of a number of substances that are reaching their usage or prohibition expiry dates, and which must undergo the sunset review process by early November 2008. USDA on Friday posted a Federal Register notice announcing that the board's Handling Committee will present its recommendations on materials petitioned for consideration for inclusion for use in organic products: gellan gum and grape seed extract. The committee will also present its recommendations on the continued use or prohibition of the material exemptions of agar-agar, due to expire on November 3, 2008, and animal enzymes, calcium sulfate, and glucono delta-lactone, with their respective annotations and limitations, due to expire on November 4, 2008. In addition, the committee will examine the continued use or prohibition of the material exemption on cellulose with its respective annotations and limitations, due to expire on November 4, 2008. The meeting is open to the public, and USDA has called for requests from organizations wishing to make oral presentations. To view the Federal Register notice, click here.