USDA Renews Carrageenan and 16 Substances to National List

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the renewal of 17 substances to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) as part of the 2018 Sunset Review process. Notably, USDA renewed carrageenan to the National List, which the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) had recommended for removal.

NOSB evaluates substances on the National List every five years to confirm that each substance continues to meet the required criteria for its allowance or prohibition. NOSB considers public comment and any new information pertaining to the substance’s impact on human and environmental health. 

AMS renewed the following materials to be allowed for organic production:

 § 205.601 – Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

(a) – as algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems

§ 205.601(a)(3)

Copper sulfate – for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

§ 205.601(a)(5)

Ozone gas – for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

§ 205.601(a)(6)

Peracetic acid – for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in § 205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

 

§ 205.601 – Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

(e) – as insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

§ 205.601(e)(4)

Copper sulfate – for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

§ 205.601 – Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

(i) – as plant disease control.

§ 205.601(i)(8)

Peracetic acid – for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in § 205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

§ 205.601 – Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

(m) – as synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

§ 205.601(m)(2)

EPA List 3 — Inerts of unknown toxicity — for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

§ 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)).”

(a)  Nonsynthetics allowed

Agar- agar.

Animal enzymes (Rennet-animals derived; Catalase-bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).

Calcium sulfate – mined.

Carrageenan.

Glucono delta-lactone – production by oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.

Tartaric acid – made from grape wine.

(b)  Synthetics allowed

Cellulose – for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.

Potassium hydroxide – prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.

Silicon dioxide – Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.

§ 205.606 – Nonorganically produced agricultural products allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic.”

Only the following nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic,” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section, and only when the product is not commercially available in organic form.

(c) Colors derived from agricultural products—Must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

§ 205.606(c)(2)

 

Beta-carotene extract color—derived from carrots or algae (pigment CAS# 7235-40-7).

AMS renewed the following material as prohibited in organic production:

§ 205.602 – Nonsynthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production

§ 205.602(c)

Calcium chloride, brine process is natural and prohibited for use except as a foliar spray to treat a physiological disorder associated with calcium uptake.

NOSB recommended carrageenan be removed from the National List as an allowed nonsynthetic substance. AMS reviewed NOSB’s recommendation and used public comments to conclude that carrageenan “continues to be necessary for handling agricultural products because of the unavailability of wholly natural substitutes.”

For questions, please contact Paul Lewis, director of the Standards Division, USDA AMS at (202) 720-3252. 

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