Certification Policy Update
Certification Policy Update
By Jackie DeMinter, Certification Policy Manager
National Organic Program
Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards Proposed Rule
A new proposed rule for Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards was published on August 9, 2022. Comments were due November 10, 2022. MOSA submitted comments which can be found on our website and more detailed information about the rule can be found at: https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic-livestock-and-poultry-standards
This proposed rule:
Clarifies that enclosed “porches” do not constitute outdoor access for poultry.
Sets maximum indoor and outdoor stocking densities and perch space to ensure poultry has sufficient space to engage in natural behavior.
Specifies exit door requirements and that outdoor access for poultry include at least 50% soil, and soil be covered in vegetation as appropriate.
Adds new requirements and recordkeeping for the transport of organic livestock to sale or slaughter.
Clarifies how organic slaughter facility practices and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations work together to support animal welfare.
Specifies which physical alteration practices are prohibited or restricted.
Includes requirements for euthanasia used to reduce suffering of any sick or disabled livestock.
Comments received will be considered by the National Organic Program during final rulemaking.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the review of inert ingredients used in pesticides allowed in organic production.
Inert ingredient review currently requires the use of criteria that is no longer maintained and is not actively updated - the EPA list 3 and 4. The NOP published a request for comments to assist them in assessing the feasibility of alternatives which could replace these outdated lists. Comments are due December 31, 2022. Comments received will inform a proposed rule for the review of inert ingredients in pesticides for organic production. More detailed information about the rule can be found at: https://www.regulations.gov/document/AMS-NOP-21-0008-0001
This advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeks input on several different options for a path forward.
A. Allow Inert Ingredients Permitted by EPA in Minimum Risk Pesticides -This option would replace the reference to EPA List 4, in part, with an allowance for inert ingredients allowed by EPA regulations in “minimum risk pesticides.” Minimum risk pesticides are pesticides that are exempt from regulation under FIFRA because they pose little to no risk to human health or the environment. These inerts are listed in Table 2 at 40 CFR 152.25(f).
B. Allow Specific Inert Ingredients Permitted by EPA- This option would replace reference to EPA List 4 with an allowance for inert ingredients that are exempt from the requirement of a tolerance. These inert ingredients are listed at 40 CFR part 180 subpart D (§§ 180.900-180.1381). Active ingredients in these sections that are exempt from the requirements of a tolerance that do not have an allowed use as an inert would not be permitted.
C. Replace EPA List 3 with EPA Allowed Inert Ingredients of Semiochemical Dispensers - This option would replace the current reference to EPA List 3 (for inert ingredients used in passive pheromone dispensers) at 7 CFR 205.601(m)(2) with reference to the current EPA framework for inert ingredients in “semiochemical dispensers.” Semiochemicals are chemicals that are emitted by plants or animals and modify the behavior of the receiving species ( e.g., disruption of mating for the purposes of pest control). Special conditions for the exemption of these inert ingredients appear in EPA regulations at 40 CFR 180.1122
D. List Inert Ingredients Individually on the National List
E. Take No Action (Status Quo)
To submit comments on the ANPR, use any of the following procedures:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. You can access this ANPR and instructions for submitting public comments by searching for document number, AMS-NOP-21-0008.
• Mail: Jared Clark, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Room 2642-S., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268.
All submissions received must include the docket number AMS-NOP-21-0008, and/or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 0581-AE02 for this ANPR.
MOSA is actively drafting comments likely in support of replacing the current outdated EPA list 4 with both Options A and B. We are also participating in a working group with the Accredited Certifiers Association to assess if there are any materials of concern that would not appear on the two lists. We will ascertain if there are any substances in inputs which we have previously reviewed and approved for use which would be left out in the cold if this were the path forward.
Origin of Livestock Final Rule Reminder
The Origin of Livestock (OOL) final rule for organic dairy has been published and was effective June 6th, 2022. MOSA has updated our internal policies, systems and organic plan paperwork to fully align with the new rule, which:
Allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition nonorganic animals one time.
Prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, new animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Variances may be requested by small businesses for specific scenarios.
As a reminder, all operations must be in full compliance by April 5th, 2023.
More detailed information about the Origin of Livestock rule is available at: www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/national-organic-program-origin-livestock
The National Organic Program has also published NOP-330: Origin of Livestock in the Organic Integrity Learning Center. This course teaches organic certifiers, inspectors, and producers about the updated OOL requirements in the USDA organic regulations and outlines knowledge and skills that will help implement the new rule.
National List Final Rules
On November 14, 2022 the National Organic Program published a final rule to amend the National List for Crops and Handling. The final rule is effective on December 14, 2022. Details can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/11/14/2022-24111/amendments-to-the-national-list-of-allowed-and-prohibited-substances-per-october-2020-and-april-2021
This rule allows low-acyl gellan gum, a food additive used as a thickener, gelling agent, and stabilizer, as an ingredient in processed organic products and replaces the term “wood resin” with the term “wood rosin” to reflect the popular spelling of the substance.
The rule also amends the National List to add paper-based crop planting aids to 7 CFR 205.601 as a synthetic production aid allowed for use in organic crop production. Specifically, the rule adds “Paper-based crop planting aids as defined in § 205.2. Virgin or recycled paper without glossy paper or colored inks.”
The rule also adds a definition for paper-based crop planting aids to the USDA organic regulations (§ 205.2, Terms defined). Paper-based crop planting aid is defined as follows: A material that is comprised of at least 60% cellulose-based fiber by weight, including, but not limited to, pots, seed tape, and collars that are placed in or on the soil and later incorporated into the soil, excluding biodegradable mulch film. Up to 40% of the ingredients can be nonsynthetic, other permitted synthetic ingredients in § 205.601(j), or synthetic strengthening fibers, adhesives, or resins. Contains no less than 80% biobased content as verified by a qualified third-party assessment ( e.g., laboratory test using ASTM D6866 or composition review by qualified personnel).
Together, these amendments allow use of paper-based crop planting aids, including those that are placed in or on the soil and later incorporated into the soil. This action finalizes the long discussion on paper pots! MOSA will be updating reviews of any paper pots currently allowed to ensure they meet the new annotation and definition and will continue to be permitted for use.
Future National Organic Program Updates?
As noted on the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, Spring 2022, we can expect:
A final rule for Strengthening Organic Enforcement
A final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry standards
A proposed rule on inert ingredients in pesticides for organic production
A proposed rule for organic apiculture standards
A proposed rule for organic pet food standards
A proposed rule for organic mushroom standards
Longer term actions include a proposed rule for aquaculture standards
OPT Grass-Fed Livestock Program Updates
For those clients certified to or interested in OPT Grass-Fed Certification with MOSA, be aware that updates to the standards and program manual have been made. The separate standards for beef and dairy were combined into one standard; restricted feedstuffs have been updated; and the options for animal welfare regulations have been expanded. The new standards and program manual can be found on the OPT website at: https://organicplustrust.com/program-materials. MOSA will be implementing the new standards during the 2023 cycle.