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Feb 1, 2022
USDA shares proposed changes to National List for Organic Crops and Handling

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

Any change to the National List requires a recommendation from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) – the federal advisory board charged with advising USDA leadership about the National List and other matters – and then USDA rule-making with multiple opportunities for public comment.

USDA published Feb. 1 a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List, part of the organic regulations overseen by the NOP. The proposed changes are based on October 2020 and April 2021 recommendations from the NOSB.

This proposed rule would:

  • Allow paper pots for use as a planting aid in organic crop production.
  • Allow low-acyl gellan gum for use as a thickener, gelling agent, or stabilizer in organic food processing.
  • Correct a spelling error on the National List to change “wood resin” to “wood rosin.”

USDA welcomes comments on the proposed amendments. The 62-day comment period will close on April 4, 2022.

Comment on Proposed Rule

How to Submit an Effective Comment

Visit NOP’s micro-learning module (linked below) on how to write an effective public comment. This module helps members of the organic community more effectively participate in the process of developing the organic standards. Effective commenting lets us hear your voice and helps USDA better balance the needs of everyone impacted in the organic market.

effective commenting

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.

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