Fall 2021 Certification Policy Update
Certification Policy Update
By Jackie DeMinter, Certification Policy Manager
National List Final Rule 2021 and 2022 Sunset Review Notice
On August 3, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a Federal Register Notice announcing the outcome of the National Organic Standards Board's (NOSB) 2021 and 2022 Sunset Reviews of substances addressing NOSB recommendations and identified which substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) will be renewed. The new sunset date for the substances renewed by this notice is either September 12, 2026, or March 15, 2027, as indicated in the short summary below. See the Federal Register Notice for the complete notice.
§ 205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production:
Hydrogen peroxide, ammonium soaps, horticultural oils, pheromones, ferric phosphate, potassium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, and hydrogen chloride. (September 12, 2026)
Soap-based algicide/demossers, ammonium carbonate, insecticidal soaps, Vitamin D3, aquatic plant extracts, lignin sulfonate, sodium silicate, and EPA list 4. (March 15, 2027)
§ 205.602 Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production:
Ash from manure burning and sodium fluoaluminate. (September 12, 2026)
Arsenic and strychnine (March 15, 2027)
§ 205.603 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production:
Atropine, fenbendazole, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, magnesium sulfate, moxidectin, peroxyacetic/peracetic acid, xylazine, DL-Methionine, trace minerals, and vitamins. (September 12, 2026)
Butorphanol, flunixin, magnesium hydroxide, poloxalene, formic acid, EPA list 4, and excipients. (March 15, 2027)
§ 205.604 Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic livestock production:
Strychnine (March 15, 2027)
§ 205.605 Nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)):”
Citric and lactic acid, calcium chloride, enzymes, L-malic acid, magnesium sulfate, microorganisms, perlite, potassium iodide, yeast, activated charcoal, ascorbic acid, calcium citrate, ferrous sulfate, hydrogen peroxide, nutrient vitamins and minerals, peracetic acid/peroxyacetic acid, potassium citrate, potassium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium citrate, and tocopherols. (September 12, 2026)
Kaolin, sodium bicarbonate, waxes, ammonium bicarbonate, ammonium carbonate, calcium phosphates, ozone, and sodium hydroxide. (March 15, 2027)
§ 205.606 Nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic:”
Celery powder, fish oil, gelatin, dried orange pulp, Pacific kombu seaweed, and Wakame seaweed. (September 12, 2026)
Carnauba wax, beet juice extract color, black/purple carrot juice color, chokeberry - aronia juice color, elderberry juice color, grape skin extract color, purple sweet potato juice color, red cabbage extract color, red radish extract color, saffron extract color, glycerin, inulin-oligofructose enriched, unbleached orange shellac, and native cornstarch. (March 15, 2027)
The NOSB is required to review the eligibility of a substance to remain on the National List every five years. A renewal means the substance keeps its current status as being allowed, restricted, or prohibited in organic production and handling.
National List Proposed Rule
On August 24th the USDA published a proposed rule to amend the National List for crops, livestock, and handling based on the NOSB’s 2022 sunset review recommendations. The proposed rule would remove sucrose octanoate esters and vitamin B1 from organic crop production; oxytocin, procaine, and sucrose octanoate esters from livestock production; and alginic acid, eight colors (black currant juice color, blueberry juice color, carrot juice color, cherry juice color, grape juice color, paprika color, pumpkin juice color and turmeric extract color), kelp, konjac flour, sweet potato starch, Turkish bay leaves, and whey protein concentrate. The comment period closed on October 25, 2021. Comments received will be considered and a final rule published in the future.
Seed Ordering Reminders (contributed by Cate Eddy)
A few things to keep in mind about seed and planting stock and your organic records:
- Order early to secure organic varieties. Supply chain issues continue.
- When ordering, tell them you are a certified organic farm. Is there a substitution policy you need to be aware of?
- Organic seed and planting stock is required. (This includes corn, soybeans, cover crop seeds, strawberries, potatoes, hemp, fruit trees, perennial herbs, alfalfa, etc.) Be careful when ordering primed seed. Some companies use prohibited seed treatments during this process. Contact MOSA to verify primed seed varieties from specific companies are allowed.
- Save a receipt and a seed tag from each variety for your records.
- Document any seed inoculants or treatments applied to seed on your Seed Table and Input Inventory forms. Verify MOSA approval.
- If you buy organic bin-run seed directly from other organic farmers, get a copy of the farmers organic certificate and receipt showing the type and quantity purchased.
- Organic annual transplants are required.
- If you buy annual transplants from others, you'll need a copy of the organic certificate and a receipt to show the type and quantity of plants purchased.
- Don't plant non-organic annual transplants into organic fields or greenhouse structures! The crop and land can be disqualified from organic certification without proper documentation.
- Organic seeds for sprouts are required.
- Can’t find the seed you are looking for? Non-organic, untreated, non-GMO seed and planting stock are permitted for use. Your records need to show you tried to find an organic option and that the non-organic purchase wasn't prohibited.
- Organic Search: write down your calls/emails/texts/catalog searches from at least 3 companies who sell organic seed or planting stock. You may need to find new companies to order seeds from to give you organic options.
- Untreated Verification: request this when you purchase your seed! Receipts sometimes state "untreated" but not always. Verify planting stock has no prohibited treatments (fungicides, fertilizers, pest control) applied post-harvest.
- Non-GMO verification for high risk crops including, but not limited to apples, alfalfa, corn, soybeans, potatoes, canola, flax, sugar beets, yellow squash and zucchini, sweet corn and white button mushrooms.
- Untreated and Non-GMO documentation is needed for nonorganic bin-run seed purchased directly from other farmers.
- Contract growers must obtain all seed records from the Contractor. For untreated Non-GMO seed, a copy of the Organic Search must be provided as well.
The National Organic Program also recently released a new full-length course on the Organic Seed Search. Check out the Organic Integrity Learning Center Course Offerings Brochure to see a short description of all courses currently offered.
MOSA policy update: Post-harvest handling substances and sanitizers
Post-harvest handling is the act of handling raw agricultural commodities without further processing. Post-harvest handling activities preserve the essential form of the product. Examples of these activities include, but are not limited to: flotation, washing, sanitizing, cooling, packing, separation from foreign objects or plant parts (e.g., cleaning grain), removal of stems, leaves or husks, and storage and pest control practices. “Further processing” includes actions that change the essential form of the product such as chopping, peeling, cutting, waxing, coating, drying, or combining with other ingredients.
Post-harvest handling materials include substances listed on §205.601 specifically for post-harvest use, such as sodium silicate as a flotation agent, substances listed on §205.605 such as chlorine, peracetic acid, carbon dioxide, and ozone, and natural substances allowed for use in crop production. MOSA’s previous policy was that while raw agricultural commodities utilizing approved post-harvest handling substances could be calculated in the organic calculations as 100% organic, the product did not qualify for the 100% labeling category. Now, any raw agricultural product using an approved post-harvest handling material will be considered 100% organic for both calculations and labeling. Clients interested in making labeling changes should inquire with their MOSA Certification Specialist.