The nonprofit Organic Materials Review Institute has announced that its latest Generic Materials List is scheduled for publication in October. The GML contains OMRI's recommendations and opinions regarding the acceptability of using certain materials in organic production, processing and handling. These recommendations represent a consensus of organics certifiers associated with OMRI and are approved by a board of directors that includes certifiers, farmers, suppliers, processors and handlers, as well as consumer, animal welfare and environmental groups.
The Generic Materials List consists of OMRI's annotations about specific materials side by side with an "NOP Final Column" that indicates each material's status under the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program's Final Rule. Under "ascorbic acid," for example, OMRI's annotation says "allowed," while the NOP Final Rule says "synthetic allowed" accompanied by a reference to the section in the rule where ascorbic acid is discussed. OMRI is adjusting its list to match the Final Rule, said Kathleen Downey, the organization's executive director, even though OMRI and the NOP generally agree.
"But there can be different interpretations [among certifiers]," she said, "so we're going to take all those responses into consideration" before the GML is released in October. Last month, certifiers associated with OMRI provided comments regarding the new generic list. OMRI also maintains a brand-name materials list. The organization started its work in 1997 after 40 different organic certifiers came together to initiate an open materials review process based on the Organic Foods Production Act.
For more information about the Eugene, Ore.-based OMRI, phone 541.343.7600, or visit www.omri.org.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXII/number 9/p. 11