NOP Update: Memo to the NOSB and Proposed Changes to the National List for Organic Crops and Handling

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider

NOP Memo to the NOSB

Request to Review Lithothamnion Classification

The National Organic Program (NOP) has sent a memo to the National Organic Standards Board (Board) requesting recommendations on Lithothamnion. Certifiers have different policies for classifying Lithothamnion as “agricultural” or “nonagricultural” and for whether it may be certified as a “wild crop” under the USDA organic regulations.

NOP is requesting the Board’s recommendation(s) to help address inconsistencies between certifiers and to provide organic handling operations, certifiers, and other interested parties with the opportunity to provide input through a public process.

Read the Memo  

Proposed Changes to the National List
for Organic Crops and Handling

Open for Comment

Continuous improvement is a priority for the National Organic Program (NOP). USDA has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List), part of the organic regulations overseen by the NOP. The proposed changes are based on October 2019 recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.

The National List identifies the synthetic substances allowed in organic farming and the natural substances prohibited in organic farming. The National List also identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances (ingredients) that may be used in organic handling.

This proposed rule would:

  • Allow fatty alcohols as plant growth regulators for sucker control in organic tobacco production.
  • Allow potassium hypochlorite as a pre-harvest sanitizer.
  • Remove the redundant listing for dairy cultures. These would continue to be allowed as ingredients in organic handling under the separate listing for microorganisms.

USDA welcomes comments on the proposed amendments. The 60-day comment period will close on May 24, 2021.

Comment at

How to Submit an Effective Comment

NOP recently launched a new microlearning module (linked below) to teach members of the public and organic community how to write an effective public comment as they participate in the process of organic standards and survey development. Effective commenting helps to make sure your voice is heard and enables USDA to best balance its needs across impacted participants in the organic market.

effective commenting

Click image above to launch microlearning module


About the National List

More information on the National List, including how and why substances are added or removed from it, is available on The USDA, National Organic Program, National List webpage.