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NOSB 2020 Spring Meeting

The Spring 2020 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Meeting was held April 29-30 via live online webinar. The OTA’s Meeting Report is now available.

The primary purpose of NOSB meetings is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to give feedback on proposed NOSB recommendations and discussion items. The meetings also allow NOSB to receive updates from USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture.

Prepare for the meeting


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Download our NOSB Report

The Organic Trade Association’s complete report on the Spring 2020 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting is now available for download.

At-A-Glance Meeting Outcomes

PROPOSALS: NOSB considered 1 proposal at this meeting.

  • Paper-based planting aids – proposal to allow use for crop production was sent back to subcommittee for further consideration.

DISCUSSION DOCUMENTS: NOSB discussed the following topics with the intent of bringing forward a proposal at a future meeting.

  • Liquid Fish Fertilizers (Crops) – evaluation of the impact of harvesting wild, native fish for use in crop fertilizers
  • Biodegradable Bio-based Mulch Film (Crops) – evaluation of current definition and restrictions
  • Fenbendazole (Livestock) – discussion on petitioned use in poultry production as parasiticide for laying hens
  • L-Malic Acid (Processing) – evaluation of manufacturing process for potential reclassification as synthetic
  • Ion exchange filtration (Processing) – evaluation of current uses and continued allowance in organic handling
  • Fish oil (Processing) – proposed prohibition of fish caught directly for the sole use of its oil and from species and regions that are overfished or exploited
  • 2020 Research Priorities – proposed list of research topics to prioritize for organic production and processing

SUNSET REVIEWS: NOSB discussed over 50 National List inputs that are scheduled for Sunset Review this year. NOSB will vote on whether these substances should remain on the National List at the fall 2020 meeting.

Download our NOSB Resource Booklet

The Organic Trade Association’s complete guide to the Spring 2020 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting is now available! The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is sharing this booklet with its members to help explain the topics currently under NOSB consideration and to encourage participation in the public process.

Inside OTA’s NOSB Spring 2020 Meeting Resource Booklet:

  • Continuous Improvement in Organic Standards
  • NOSB: The Cornerstone of Continuous Improvement
  • The Restricted Organic Toolbox
  • Get to Know Your National List
  • National List Criteria: Inside the Review Process
  • Summary of NOSB Agenda Items
  • Organic Trade Association Positions
Read our Final Comments
Meeting Agenda and Topics

The Meeting Packet (all proposals and discussion documents to be considered at the meeting) are posted and the docket for accepting public comments is open until April 3, 2020. Scroll down for a list of topics and links to individual meeting materials, or view the Organic Trade Association’s NOSB Meeting Resource Booklet for summaries of all agenda topics. 

General topics

Crop production topics

Livestock production topics

Processing/Handling topics

2022 Sunset Review: Do you use these inputs?

This year, NOSB will review and vote on whether to continue the allowance of the substances listed below that are scheduled for re-review prior to their sunset (expiration) date in 2022 from the National List. These National List inputs may not be renewed if new information indicates these substances are incompatible with organic production.

Inputs Used in Crop Production: Soap-based algicide/demosser; Ammonium carbonate (for use as bait in insect traps); Insecticidal soap; Vitamin D3 (rodenticide); Aquatic plant extracts (fertilizer); Lignin sulfonate (chelating agent, dust suppressant); Sodium silicate (floating agent in post-harvest handling); EPA List 4 inerts; Arsenic (prohibited); Strychnine (prohibited)

Inputs Used in Livestock Production: Butorphenol (anesthetic); Flunixin (analgesic/anti-inflammatory); Magnesium hydroxide (antacid/laxative); Poloxalene (emergency bloat treatment); Formic acid (pesticide in beehives); Excipients; EPA List 4 inerts; Strychnine (prohibited)

Inputs Used in Processing and Handling: Kaolin (anticaking agent); Sodium bicarbonate (leavening agent); Wood Rosin (fruit wax); Ammonium bicarbonate (leavening agent); Ammonium carbonate (leavening agent); Calcium phosphates (leavening agent); Ozone(disinfectant); Sodium hydroxide (caustic bath for pretzels), Inulin-oligofructose enriched (dietary fiber); Kelp (thickener/dietary supplement); Orange shellac-unbleached (fruit and veg coating); Cornstarch (thickener); Sweet Potato Starch (texturizer for bean threads); Turkish bay leaves (flavor development); Whey protein concentrate (nutritional enrichment); Carnauba wax (fruit wax); Colors; Glycerin (solvent)


If you are using any of the inputs listed above or if you are aware of a commercial supply of organic or natural alternatives, please weigh in using OTA's 2022 Sunset Review Surveys! Our surveys help to facilitate a robust comment process by collecting feedback from certified organic farms and processors, and delivering the information in a summarized confidential format to NOSB. Each survey (one for each substance) has about 10 questions addressing the necessity or essentiality of each input and take about 5 minutes to complete. The surveys are open to any NOP certified organic operation.

Learn more about the Sunset Review Process

Mission and Structure of NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board was created through the Organic Foods Production Act, a sub-section of the 1990 Farm Bill. The Board is charged with the task of assisting the Secretary of Agriculture on which substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic farming and processing. The Board also advises the Secretary on other aspects of the organic regulations. This 15-person citizen advisory board brings together volunteers from around the United States. It is made up of four farmers/growers, two handlers/processors, one retailer, one scientist, three consumer/public interest advocates, three environmentalists, and one USDA accredited certifying agent. 

Contact our Regulatory Staff

Gwendolyn Wyard
Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs
(503) 798-3294 

Johanna Mirenda
Farm Policy Director
(202) 812-7704