Tell the USDA to Uphold the Integrity of Organic Standards!

In September, the USDA announced changes to its interpretation of the “sunset” provision in the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. These changes override the powers of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and make it easier for food producers to use synthetics in organic food production.

Previously, any exemptions from organic standards were set to expire, or “sunset,” on a specific date—unless they were reinstated by a “decisive” two-thirds majority vote of the NOSB. Now it’s just the reverse: a synthetic material can be permitted to remain in an organic food indefinitely unless a two-thirds majority votes to remove it from the exempted list. This change allowed the board to vote last week to permit the continued use of quite a number of synthetic substances in organic production–—a clear victory for producers who want to be considered organic without sacrificing their bottom line.

More than 100 synthetics will be up for sunset consideration in 2015. Tell the USDA to enforce the sunset provision of the OFPA as it was originally intended—allowing synthetic products to remain after their “sunset” date only after public debate and a two-thirds vote of the NOSB. In addition, tell the USDA to use a public and transparent process for all major changes to organic standards by publishing proposed changes in the Federal Register, and actively seeking public input and discussion.

Please add your own comments if you have the time!


  • Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, USDA


*Required fields


Please Uphold the Integrity of Organic Standards!

Dear [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]