WASHINGTON, May 6, 2011-The U.S. Department of Agriculture published guidance today for the organic industry concerning the issues of compost and vermicompost; wild crop harvesting; commingling and contamination prevention; and the use of chlorine materials in organic production and handling.
The topics covered in these documents address recommendations issued by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) in a March 2010 audit report of the National Organic Program (NOP).
The NOP first announced the availability of draft guidance pertaining to these topics on Oct. 13, 2010. The NOP solicited public comment through the Federal Register prior to finalizing the documents. To see NOP's comprehensive response to comments that were submitted, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCorrespondence.
As definitive guidance from the NOP, the documents will be incorporated into the Program Handbook, the official USDA reference clarifying NOP standards and best program practices. The most recent edition of the Program Handbook, which includes the guidance documents published today, is available online or in print upon request to the National Organic Program. Updates to the Handbook occur periodically as necessary. The latest guidance documents will be included in the next edition, to be released in July 2011. For further information, contact the NOP at (202) 720-3252 or NOP.firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
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