WASHINGTON – An amendment to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances that extends use of methionine in organic poultry production was announced by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (N.O.P.). Published in the Federal Register on Aug. 24 as an interim rule with request for comments, it extends the allowance for methionine in organic poultry production until Oct. 1, 2012, with the following maximum allowable limits of methionine per ton of feed: 4 lbs. for layers, 5 lbs. for broilers, and 6 lbs. for turkeys and all other poultry.

This interim rule is based upon a recommendation made by the National Organic Standards Board (N.O.S.B.) on April 12.

Methionine is an essential amino acid necessary in poultry diets for proper cell growth and feather development. While methionine is naturally present in organic poultry feed, the amount is not sufficient to maintain the optimal health of the birds. The N.O.S.B. determined that the loss of the use of synthetic methionine would disrupt the organic poultry market and cause substantial economic hardship to organic poultry operations.

The interim rule will become effective Oct. 1 and is currently available for comments. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 25. All comments received by this date will be considered prior to the issuance of the final rule. The interim rule and public comments may be viewed at www.regulations.gov, filed as document AMS-NOP-10-0051.

Under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act, the Secretary of Agriculture can amend the National List based on proposed amendments developed by the N.O.S.B. The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and nonsynthetic (natural) substances that may not be used in organic production. Since being established in 2001, the National List has been amended 13 times, including this interim rule.