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Materials in Organic Products Final Guidance (January 2017)

A final guidance is available explaining the policies of the National Organic Program (NOP) in regards to organic product materials. The guidance is comprised of two sets of documents, entitled “Classification of Materials” and “Materials for Organic Crop Production.” These documents will be used by agents who own, manage, or certify organic product operations to ensure compliance with regulations for organic products.

Under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for management of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The National List specifies synthetic substances that are permitted for use in organic crop production, and nonsynthetic (natural) substances that are not permitted for use in organic crop production. Nonsynthetic substances are generally allowed for use in organic production, however, their permissions are not required to be explicitly stated in the National List. This makes it difficult for industry members to distinguish which materials are permitted to be used and which are not.

Guidance for Classification of Materials (NOP 5033)

This guidance provides insight on how materials are classified as nonsynthetic, synthetic, agricultural, or nonagricultural and was written based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

Guidance for Materials for Organic Crop Production (NOP 5034)

The second guidance document includes:

  • Information to help organic producers understand which input materials are allowed in organic crop production
  • Specific substances permitted to be in organic products, as well as materials that are permitted but not required to be included on the National List
  • A list of materials restricted from use in organic products, including those that have been reviewed by NOSB and are not recommended for use, materials whose use in production has expired, and materials listed as prohibited or prohibited by USDA regulations

NOP states that neither list is intended to be all inclusive. The final documents reflect NOP’s current vision for the organic products industry and may be viewed on NOP’s website.

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