WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP) made available today draft guidance addressing the following issues: kelp in organic livestock feed, allowed ingredients and sources of vitamins and minerals in organic livestock feed, pesticide residue testing, and seeds and planting stock in organic crop production.
The NOP is addressing these topics and seeking input from the public in response to recommendations issued by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and requests by the organic industry for clarification about regulatory intent.
Guidance documents, once finalized, are intended to improve consistency in how certifying agents and certified operations implement the national organic standards by clarifying NOP's current thinking on these topics. They provide a uniform method for operations to comply with the regulations while reducing the burden of developing their own methods and simplifying audits and inspections. These documents are available for consideration and public comment at http://www.ams.usda.gov/NOPDraftGuidance:
Specific directions and guidelines for submitting comments are available in the notice published in the Federal Register, identified by document number AMS-NOP-11-0002; NOP-11-02 (enter this number as the keyword/ID in the search bar at www.regulations.gov). To ensure that the NOP considers all public input before issuing final guidance, interested parties should submit them by Aug. 12, 2011, at www.regulations.gov.
Once finalized, all guidance will be published in the Federal Register and incorporated into the "Program Handbook: Guidance and Instructions for Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) and Certified Operations." The Handbook provides those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the NOP regulations. The current edition of the Program Handbook is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop or in print upon request.
For further information, contact Melissa R. Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program (NOP), USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Room 2646-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268, Telephone: (202) 720-3252, Email: NOP.firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the NOP website at www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
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