Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Written comments responding to this request should be identified with the document number AMS-NOP-10-0048; NOP-10-05. You should clearly indicate your position and the reasons for your position. You should clearly indicate which guidance document you are commenting on, especially if you choose to comment on more than one draft guidance document. If you are suggesting changes to a draft guidance document, you should include recommended language changes, as appropriate, along with any relevant supporting documentation.
USDA intends to make available all comments, including names and addresses when provided, regardless of submission procedure used, on
The five draft guidance documents announced through this notice were selected in response to the USDA Office of Inspector General's (OIG) March 2010 Audit Report 01601-03-Hy: Oversight of the National Organic Program. The OIG findings identified specific areas of the NOP regulations where OIG recommended guidance be issued to strengthen oversight by ACAs and improve consistency and overall administration of the NOP. The NOP specifically developed Commingling and Contamination Prevention in Organic Production and Handling (NOP 5025) and Outdoor Access for Organic Poultry (NOP 5024) draft guidance in response to the OIG report. The OIG also identified the need for the NOP to act upon recommendations issued by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) from 2001 to 2010. The NOP developed The Use of Chlorine Materials in Organic Production and Handling (NOP 5026) and Compost and Vermicompost in Organic Crop Production (NOP 5021) in response to outstanding NOSB recommendations. The NOP also identified a need to develop guidance to address requests by ACAs and certified operations for clarifications on particular issues. Wild Crop Harvesting (NOP 5022) is an example of guidance being issued in response to these requests.
These draft guidance documents are being issued in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin on Agency Good Guidance Practices (GGPs) (January 25, 2007, 72 FR 3432-3440).
The purpose of GGPs is to ensure that program guidance documents are developed with adequate public participation, are readily available to the public, and are not applied as binding requirements. The draft guidance, when finalized, will represent the NOP's current thinking on these topics. It does not create or confer any rights for, or on, any person and does not operate to bind the NOP or the public. Guidance documents are intended to provide a uniform method for operations to comply that can reduce the burden of developing their own methods and simplify audits and inspections. Alternative approaches that can demonstrate compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522), and its implementing regulations are also acceptable. The NOP strongly encourages industry to discuss alternative approaches with the NOP before implementing them to avoid unnecessary or wasteful expenditures of resources and to ensure the proposed alternative approach complies with the Act and its implementing regulations.
Persons with access to Internet may obtain the draft guidance at either NOP's Web site at