Under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authority over organic-food labeling, the agency maintains a list of Synthetic Substances that may be used in organic products. Decisions about any substance on the list had been forced to sunset after five years unless two-thirds of the agency's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended a given substance remain on the list.
But the USDA changed the rules in 2013, delegating much of the decision-making power over synthetic substances to a NOSB subcommittee. Since that time, plaintiffs in a lawsuit argue that this USDA inaction "has allowed more than 20 synthetic substances to continue being used in organic agriculture." Baylen Linnekin explains more.
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