AHPA Advocates, Again, for Organic Labels on Supplements

(Silver Spring, MD) -- AHPA President Michael McGuffin appeared before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) August 17 to make the case, yet again, for the National Organic Program (NOP) to clarify that herbal dietary supplements are allowed to be marketed as organic under the program. The NOP has published contradictory positions over the past five years, and McGuffin asked the NOSB to “exert your influence to get this simple matter resolved.”

“There is no principled argument to exclude dietary supplements from the NOP scope.” McGuffin said in his remarks, which included refuting the agency’s position that dietary supplements are “nonagricultural products,” and that because dietary supplements are under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) they cannot be labeled with the USDA seal

To make the point that the issue of FDA jurisdiction is “a red herring,” McGuffin displayed a can of bean soup that is labeled with two FDA-compliant nutrient content claims and also bears the USDA organic seal.

“Apparently, this company knows how to juggle the labeling regulations of both the FDA and the NOP,” he said. “The fact that FDA has certain jurisdiction over labeling of a conventional food does not imply that NOP’s jurisdiction over organic labeling is in any way compromised. The same assumption should be made for dietary supplements.”

He also displayed two bottles — organic peppermint spirits and organic peppermint flavor — the first labeled as a supplement, the second as a food. Both products contain only organic peppermint or peppermint oil and organic alcohol or vegetable oil, and both are marketed for human consumption. “Yet only one of these products may be marketed under the NOP,” McGuffin said. “This situation is clearly contrary to the statutory intention of the OFPA.”

AHPA has long pursued the right of herbal product manufacturers to participate in the NOP. Dozens of AHPA members have invested in bringing organic products to consumers. McGuffin also appeared before the NOSB this past March (see press release: http://www.ahpa.org/pr_050303.htm), and in January AHPA proposed corrections to NOSB’s draft Scope Document of October 2004. AHPA’s earlier efforts in this issue are detailed in press releases of October 8, 2004 (http://www.ahpa.org/pr_041008.htm) and May 27, 2004 (http://www.ahpa.org/pr_040527.htm)

McGuffin also informed the NOSB that AHPA’s Board of Trustees supports the inclusion of cosmetics and body care products within the scope of the NOP.


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal supplement industry, the only trade association devoted solely to herbal issues. AHPA is the recognized leader in representing the responsible center of the botanical trade, and is comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of responsibility with respect to the way herbs are manufactured, labeled and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org

Karen Robin, Director of Communications
Telephone: (301) 588-1171, x-107
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ahpa.org

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.