Comments are due to the NOSB by September 30 at 11:59 pm EDT at

The USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets next month to consider approving, or reapproving, synthetic and non-organic materials for use in organic farming and food production. We encourage you to make your voice heard on the following three issues:

  • No antibiotics on organic fruit: As a community, we do not want large conventional/organic tree fruit producers in the Pacific Northwest to get their wish. At our encouragement, the NOSB previously removed two antibiotics (streptomycin and tetracycline) from use on tree fruit. Now they’re at it again, petitioning for the use of another antibiotic (Kasugamycin) as a pesticide. Tell the USDA that legitimate organic farmers use cultural practices (spacing, resistant varieties, etc.) to eliminate the need to control fire blight and other diseases rather than nuking them with toxins after the fact.
  • No carrageenan in organic food: During the previous administration, the NOSB voted to remove carrageenan, a potent, albeit natural, inflammatory agent and likely carcinogen, from use in organics. But they were overruled by the USDA Secretary after corporate lobbyists made their voices heard. Let’s challenge the current administration to do better. Please encourage the NOSB to vote once again to remove carrageenan from the list of approved substances.
  • No ammonia extract in organic soil: Authentic organic farmers “feed the soil not the plants.” The proposal to allow ammonia extract, derived from conventional factory farms, is anathema to the philosophy that organics is based upon. Farmers should be using composts and cultural practices, like cover crops and green manures, to nurture the microbiota in the soil, resulting in flavorful and nutritious food, instead of using a concentrated nitrogen source that could negatively impact soil life (just like they do in conventional agriculture).

Please join OrganicEye and Beyond Pesticides in commenting on these important pending decisions. My colleague, Dr. Terry Shistar, has prepared a webpage that will help you drill down on these issues and others coming before the NOSB in which you might have an interest. It also includes instructions on how to make your formal comments to the NOSB.

Please submit your comments by September 30.