AHPA to NOSB: Support 'Organic' Labeling for Supplements

AHPA has appealed to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to recognize, and to communicate to the staff of USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), that dietary supplements that contain organically produced ingredients may be labeled as “organic” in conformity with the NOP. This request was made in the form of a correspondence dated October 6 and emailed to members of NOSB’s Policy Development Committee. In addition, an AHPA representative will provide testimony to the full NOSB at a meeting in Washington, DC, next week.

“AHPA has communicated with the NOP directly for more than four years to clarify the fact that herbal supplement are included in the scope of the NOP, and to identify inconsistencies in that agency’s statements on this matter,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin.

“Consumers want organically grown herbal products. The Organic Foods Production Act did not exclude this class of agricultural products, yet NOP has failed to resolve this in accordance with the law. AHPA is therefore opening lines of communication with the NOSB and expects to find a more receptive ear,” McGuffin added.

The agenda for next week’s NOSB meeting includes consideration on October 12 of a draft “Scope Document” prepared by their Policy Development Committee. AHPA’s October 6 communication asks that statements in that draft — that dietary supplements cannot be included in the NOP — be recognized as erroneous and deleted, or that the matter be tabled until this error is corrected.

The National Organic Program is both the title of the regulations that implemented the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) and the name of the division within USDA that oversees this regulation. The NOSB is an advisory body that was authorized by the OFPA and that provides recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on developing standards for substances to be used in organic production and on other aspects of implementing the NOP.

AHPA’s communications to the NOSB are the latest efforts in an ongoing campaign to counter inconsistent positions of the NOP that would disqualify dietary supplements from the National Organic Program by classifying them as “nonagricultural products.” See the AHPA Update of May 27, 2004, for more information: http://www.ahpa.org/update_04_0527.htm

Information about the NOSB meeting October 12–14, including the agenda, can be accessed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nosb/meetingbooks/Oct2004/tableofcontents.htm

NOSB’s draft Scope Document is also online: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nosb/meetingbooks/Oct2004/NOPScope9_04.pdf

American Herbal Products Association

Karen Robin, Director of Communications
Telephone: 301-588-1171 x107
Fax: 301-588-1174

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