March 11, 2014
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced its next National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting set for April 29-May 2, 2014, in San Antonio, TX. The meeting is open to the public, and interested parties can submit comments prior to the meeting.
The NOSB meets twice annually to discuss allowed and prohibited substances in organic production, help develop standards, and advise the Secretary on the implementation of established standards. The NOSB is also responsible for maintaining the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
Topics to be considered at this meeting are petitions to the National List, including several substances for use in aquaculture, including chlorine, streptomycin for use to control fire blight in pears and apples, and glycerin. A tentative meeting agenda has been posted online.
The board will also be considering a report on seed purity developed by the “GMO Ad Hoc Subcommittee” (which has now become part of the Materials Committee). The Subcommittee issued a report concluding that a seed purity standard is desirable but that there are challenges with designing and implementing the standard. Even though the report finds that it is not possible to propose a standard at this time, this is an ongoing discussion within NOSB and the public can comment on the report.
The meeting will take place in the Anacacho Ballroom of the St. Anthony Hotel located at 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205. The last day to reserve a room at the hotel is March 27, 2014. The meeting will run from 8:00-5:30 April 29- May 1, and from 8:00-12:30 on May 2.
The deadline to submit comments is April 8, 2014. Comments can be submitted via regulations.gov. The deadline to sign up for in-person public comments is the same, and instructions to do so can be found on the AMS website.
NOSB Seeking Nominations for New Board Members
Additionally, separate from the meeting, the NOSB is seeking nominations for specific board positions. USDA is requesting nominations for the following four NOSB positions: environmentalist, producer, handler, and retailer. Each position serves a five-year term, and nominations are due on or before May 14, 2015. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.