Certification Policy Update
CERTIFICATION POLICY UPDATE
Jackie DeMinter, Certification Policy Manager
Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule Update! November 14th, 2017 is right around the corner and there has been little to no news about the rule. The Organic Trade Association’s recent lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over its failure to put into effect new livestock standards could perhaps initiate some action. The lawsuit alleges the USDA has unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final rule, a final rule that was developed through proper process. The OTA also contends the Presidential regulatory freeze order should not apply to the voluntary organic standard. Visit the OTA website at www.ota.com to read more about the lawsuit.
As you recall, we are waiting to hear the USDA’s decision on the second proposed rule which offered four options:
(1) Let the rule become effective. This means that the rule would become effective on November 14, 2017.
(2) Suspend the rule indefinitely. During the suspension, USDA could consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the final rule.
(3) Delay the effective date of the rule further, beyond the effective date of November 14, 2017.
(4) Withdraw the rule so that USDA would not pursue implementation of the rule.
Over 47,000 comments were submitted and almost all were in support of the rule moving forward on November 14, 2017. In our comments, we offered strong opposition against further delay of the effective date and implementation of the Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule. We fully support option one and feel that choosing any of the other three options would be a missed opportunity to strengthen our industry. At MOSA, we’ll continue our work for a November 14th effective date. Watch for updates from us.
Sewage Sludge Reminder. Remember that human waste and sewage sludge are prohibited for application on organic land. If you are having your septic pumped or are disposing of other waste, be sure to do so in an area buffered from organic production. In all cases where human waste has been applied to organic land, the land must be suspended from organic production for three years. Cropland application of human waste is also a food safety concern.
Update to residue testing policy for Quaternary Ammonia compounds. Do you use quaternary ammonia on your operation? If so, please take note of the updates to our policy. Since quats are designed to leave a persistent residue, the operator must be able to show MOSA through residue testing that the intervening event removes all residues. MOSA now requires that tests be sensitive to a 0-10 ppm range and the results must be 0 ppm. The type of test and sensitivity must be described in the Sanitation section of your Handler Organic System Plan. Residue testing does not need to be done each time if the standard operating procedure (SOP) has been proven to be effective, however you will need to use periodic testing to monitor. Ensure your tests clearly show a residue of 0 ppm. Inspectors will be verifying that testing protocols are adequate and clearly described in your organic system plan.
Materials review policy updates! Late last year, the NOP published NOP 5034-1 Materials for Organic Crop Production and since then we’ve assessed all of the categories of materials outlined in the guidance document and are working to update our policies and individual product reviews. What does this mean for you? Some of the materials that we have previously approved for use on your operation may now require additional information from you for review. Some decisions will also change from allowed to prohibited or additional restrictions may apply. If any of the materials in use on your operation are impacted by any changes, we’ll notify you during review. Clients using inputs that are no longer going to be allowed will be required to discontinue use of the input.
At MOSA, we also have been reviewing appropriate sanctions related to both deliberate and unintentional use of prohibited inputs (including unfortunate chemical drift situations). We continue to require all inputs to be approved as a part of your organic system plan. We are happy to review proposed inputs before they are used. Use of prohibited inputs is not compliant with the standards, and can affect your certification. (More details are in NOP Program Handbook Instruction 4002.)
More information may be requested for the following generic materials:
• Acetic acid - We will be asking for verification that the acetic acid is natural (produced through fermentation) and is nonGMO.
• Biodynamic Preparations - We regret to inform you that any preparations containing manure will be restricted unless the manure is fully composted. This includes horn manure. MOSA has not previously applied the 90/120 day manure restriction to biodynamic preparations.
• Humates, Humic Acid, and Fulvic Acid - Humic acid is derived from leonardite, lignite, and coal. We will need to verify naturally occurring deposits only, and also any extractants used. Humic acid may be extracted with water or alkali extracts (for example, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, or ammonium hydroxide) and only in the amount necessary for extraction. Fortification of the product is not allowed. Fulvic acids are the fractions of humates soluble at neutral to acid pH. Fulvic acid may be extracted from humates with water or nonsynthetic acids. Alkali extractants are only allowed for use to extract humic acid.
• Hydrolyzed ingredients - We will now verify the process used to hydrolyze the material. Steam, heat, enzymes and pressure are allowed. Synthetic chemical acid or base hydrolysis results in a synthetic material and is therefore prohibited.
• Molasses products - We’ll now be asking for verification to ensure that the molasses does not contain any synthetic scale inhibitors, aggregation and precipitation agents, or additives to control fluidity, all common ingredients added during nonorganic molasses processing. We are actively working with manufacturers directly to update our reviews of the molasses products recorded in our database.
• Mulch - Plastic mulch must be petroleum based and not be polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Biodegradable plastic mulch is not covered under the plastic mulch allowance. We have previously allowed biodegradable mulches as long as it was removed prior to breaking down. The new listing for Plastic Mulch states: “The allowance does not include biodegradable plastic” which makes it the policy clear. Clients will be required to discontinue use.
• Mushroom Compost and Spent Mushroom Substrate - While not a change, we’ll remind you that we need to verify all materials in the compost or substrate, and all must be derived from allowed materials. Materials that contain manure are subject to timeframe restrictions for raw animal manure unless they are composted before or after mushroom production according to § 205.203(c)(2) or NOP 5021 - Compost and Vermicompost in Organic Crop Production.
• Paper / Other Recycled Paper - Our review of paper products has not changed yet, but we are seeking clarification from the NOP. Their listing states: “Includes newspaper and other recycled paper such as cardboard, without glossy or colored inks. Does not include paper that is not recycled (i.e., virgin paper).” To date, we have not verified that all paper products we’ve allowed are composed of 100% recycled paper. We are asking for a clarification regarding what types of paper products are included and what composition must be recycled. We’ll update you as we know more. Anticipate that we’ll need more information on paper products in use on your operation.
●Plant extracts and oils - We are now more thoroughly verifying that the extraction process is a natural process. Extracts from plants are considered nonsynthetic/natural if they meet the below three requirements and are not *exceptions in the National List:
• At the end of the extraction process, the material has not been transformed into a different substance via chemical change.
• The material has not been altered into a form that does not occur in nature;
• Any synthetic materials used to separate, isolate, or extract the substance have been removed from the final substance (via evaporation, distillation, precipitation, or other means) such that they have no technical or functional effect in the final product.
*Note that some extracts are listed on the National List with specific annotations, for example - nonorganic gums may only be extracted with water, and aquatic plants may be extracted with materials as noted in the annotation.