National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance on Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products, 22886-22887 [2014-09390]

Download as PDF 22886 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 80 Friday, April 25, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 205 [Doc. # AMS–NOP–14–0012; NOP–14–03] National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance on Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of availability of draft guidance with request for comments. AGENCY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents and certified operations and exempt operations that produce or handle certified organic products. The guidance document is entitled: Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products (NOP 5023). This guidance document is intended to inform the public of the National Organic Program’s (NOP) current thinking on this topic. The NOP is seeking comments on this draft guidance document. DATES: To ensure that NOP considers your comment on this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit written comments on the draft guidance by June 24, 2014. ADDRESSES: Submit written requests for hard copies of this draft guidance document to Melissa Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA–AMS–NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646 So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250–0268. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section regarding electronic access to the draft guidance document. Interested persons may submit comments on these draft guidance documents using the following procedures: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Apr 24, 2014 Jkt 232001 • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Comments may be submitted by mail to: Melissa Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA–AMS–NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646 So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250–0268. Written comments responding to this request should be identified with the document number AMS–NOP–14–0012; NOP–14–03. You should clearly indicate your position and the reasons for your position. If you are suggesting changes to the 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 www.regulations.gov and at USDA, AMS, NOP, Room 2646–South building, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington DC, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except official Federal holidays). Persons wanting to visit the USDA South building to view comments from the public to this notice are requested to make an appointment by calling (202) 720–3252. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA–AMS–NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250, Email: Melissa.bailey@ ams.usda.gov; Telephone: (202) 720– 3252; Fax: (202) 205–7808. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background There is a section within the USDA organic regulations called the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) (7 CFR sections 205.600 through 205.607). This National List identifies the synthetic substances that are allowed and the nonsynthetic (natural) substances that are prohibited in organic production. Nonsynthetic (natural) substances are generally permitted to be used in organic production, unless they appear as prohibited nonsynthetics on the National List. The National List also PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 identifies nonagricultural and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be used in organic handling. The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) (7 U.S.C. 6501–6522), and USDA organic regulations (7 CFR section 205.105), specifically prohibit the use of any synthetic substance in organic production and handling unless the synthetic substance is on the National List. Section 205.105 requires that any nonorganic agricultural and any nonsynthetic nonagricultural substance used in organic handling be on the National List. This draft guidance describes the National Organic Program’s (NOP) current thinking on the allowance of substances used in post-harvest handling activities such as washing, packing, and storage of organic products. There is no discrete section of the National List designated for substances used in these post-harvest handling activities; instead, the substances allowed for use in postharvest handling appear in different sections of the National List (e.g., section 205.601 for crop production; section 205.605 for processing), or are nonsynthetic substances, and are therefore not included on the National List. This has led to confusion about the point at which crop production for unprocessed commodities ends, when processing starts, and which substances may be used for post-harvest activities that may occur on farm or in a processing facility. This draft guidance provides information to all USDA-accredited certifying agents (certifiers) and certified and exempt organic operations on substances that may be used in postharvest handling of organic products. It clarifies: (1) What substances may be used; (2) the difference between postharvest handling of raw agricultural crops and further processing; and (3) the provisions for facility pest management. This draft guidance also defines postharvest substances. This draft guidance, once finalized, would clarify which substances may be used in post–harvest handling on organic farms and in processing facilities. The NOP selected the topic for the draft guidance document announced through this notice in response to questions received from certifiers and organic operations. These stakeholders requested that the NOP clarify the E:\FR\FM\25APP1.SGM 25APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 80 / Friday, April 25, 2014 / Proposed Rules requirements and limitations regarding the substances permitted in post-harvest handling. The NOP also discussed and received feedback on this topic at a training session for certifiers in Portland, Oregon, in February 2011. The draft guidance is available from NOP on its Web site at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Once finalized, final guidance would be available in ‘‘The Program Handbook: Guidance and Instructions for Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) and Certified Operations’’. This Handbook provides those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the USDA organic regulations. The current edition of the Program Handbook is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS II. Significance of Guidance This draft guidance document is 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. This draft guidance represents NOP’s current thinking on the topic. 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. As with any alternative compliance approach, NOP strongly encourages industry to discuss alternative approaches with 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. III. Electronic Access Persons with access to Internet may obtain the draft guidance at either NOP’s Web site at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/nop or http:// www.regulations.gov. Requests for hard copies of the draft guidance documents can be obtained by submitting a written request to the person listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:16 Apr 24, 2014 Jkt 232001 Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501–6522. Dated: April 21, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09390 Filed 4–24–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 354 9 CFR Parts 97 and 130 [Docket No. APHIS–2009–0047] Fee Increases for Overtime Services Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We are proposing to change the hourly rates charged for Sundays, holidays, or other overtime work performed by employees of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for any person, firm, or corporation having ownership, custody, or control of regulated commodities or articles subject to inspection, laboratory testing, certification, or quarantine under the regulations. We are proposing to increase these overtime rates for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2018 to reflect the anticipated costs associated with providing these services during each year. Establishing the overtime rate changes in advance would allow users of APHIS’ services to incorporate the rates into their budget planning. We are also proposing to clarify the regulations to indicate that agricultural inspections performed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be billed in accordance with DHS overtime regulations for services performed outside of regular business hours, as DHS rates may differ from those charged by APHIS. DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 24, 2014. SUMMARY: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0047. • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2009–0047, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 22887 Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http:// www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0047 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799–7039 before coming. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning Plant Protection and Quarantine program operations, contact Mr. William E. Thomas, AQI Coordinator, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 131, Riverdale, MD 20737– 1231; (301) 851–2306. For information concerning Veterinary Services program operations, contact Ms. Carol Tuszynski, Director, Planning, Finance, and Strategy Staff, Program Support Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 58, Riverdale, MD 20737–1231; (301) 851–3463. For information concerning APHIS user fee development, contact Ms. Kris Caraher, Branch Chief, Review and Analysis, Financial Management Division, MRPBS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 55, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851–2834. For information concerning DHS overtime fees, contact Mrs. Kara Welty, Chief, Debt Management Branch, Indianapolis, CBP, DHS, 6650 Telecom Drive Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46278–2010; (317) 614–4614. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The regulations in 7 CFR chapter III and 9 CFR chapter I, subchapters D and G, require inspection, laboratory testing, certification, or quarantine of certain animals, poultry, animal byproducts, germ plasm, organisms, vectors, plants, plant products, or other regulated commodities or articles intended for importation into, or exportation from, the United States. With some exceptions, which are explained below, when these services must be provided by an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employee on a Sunday or on a holiday, or at any other time outside the APHIS employee’s regular duty hours, the Government charges an hourly overtime fee for the services in accordance with 7 CFR part 354 and 9 CFR part 97. APHIS has not adjusted the overtime rates for inspection, laboratory testing, certification, or quarantine services since we published a final rule in the E:\FR\FM\25APP1.SGM 25APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 80 (Friday, April 25, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22886-22887]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09390]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 80 / Friday, April 25, 2014 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 22886]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

7 CFR Part 205

[Doc.  AMS-NOP-14-0012; NOP-14-03]


National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance on Substances 
Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft guidance with request for 
comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the 
availability of a draft guidance document intended for use by 
accredited certifying agents and certified operations and exempt 
operations that produce or handle certified organic products. The 
guidance document is entitled: Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling 
of Organic Products (NOP 5023). This guidance document is intended to 
inform the public of the National Organic Program's (NOP) current 
thinking on this topic. The NOP is seeking comments on this draft 
guidance document.

DATES: To ensure that NOP considers your comment on this draft guidance 
before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit 
written comments on the draft guidance by June 24, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Submit written requests for hard copies of this draft 
guidance document to Melissa Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards 
Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence 
Ave. SW., Room 2646 So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268. See 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section regarding electronic access to 
the draft guidance document.
    Interested persons may submit comments on these draft guidance 
documents using the following procedures:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Comments may be submitted by mail to: Melissa 
Bailey, Ph.D., Director, Standards Division, National Organic Program, 
USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646 So., Ag Stop 0268, 
Washington, DC 20250-0268.
    Written comments responding to this request should be identified 
with the document number AMS-NOP-14-0012; NOP-14-03. You should clearly 
indicate your position and the reasons for your position. If you are 
suggesting changes to the 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 
www.regulations.gov and at USDA, AMS, NOP, Room 2646-South building, 
1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington DC, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 
1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except official Federal holidays). 
Persons wanting to visit the USDA South building to view comments from 
the public to this notice are requested to make an appointment by 
calling (202) 720-3252.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Bailey, Ph.D., Director, 
Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 
Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 
20250, Email: Melissa.bailey@ams.usda.gov; Telephone: (202) 720-3252; 
Fax: (202) 205-7808.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    There is a section within the USDA organic regulations called the 
National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) (7 
CFR sections 205.600 through 205.607). This National List identifies 
the synthetic substances that are allowed and the nonsynthetic 
(natural) substances that are prohibited in organic production. 
Nonsynthetic (natural) substances are generally permitted to be used in 
organic production, unless they appear as prohibited nonsynthetics on 
the National List. The National List also identifies nonagricultural 
and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be used in organic 
handling. The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) (7 U.S.C. 
6501-6522), and USDA organic regulations (7 CFR section 205.105), 
specifically prohibit the use of any synthetic substance in organic 
production and handling unless the synthetic substance is on the 
National List. Section 205.105 requires that any nonorganic 
agricultural and any nonsynthetic nonagricultural substance used in 
organic handling be on the National List.
    This draft guidance describes the National Organic Program's (NOP) 
current thinking on the allowance of substances used in post-harvest 
handling activities such as washing, packing, and storage of organic 
products. There is no discrete section of the National List designated 
for substances used in these post-harvest handling activities; instead, 
the substances allowed for use in post-harvest handling appear in 
different sections of the National List (e.g., section 205.601 for crop 
production; section 205.605 for processing), or are nonsynthetic 
substances, and are therefore not included on the National List. This 
has led to confusion about the point at which crop production for 
unprocessed commodities ends, when processing starts, and which 
substances may be used for post-harvest activities that may occur on 
farm or in a processing facility.
    This draft guidance provides information to all USDA-accredited 
certifying agents (certifiers) and certified and exempt organic 
operations on substances that may be used in post-harvest handling of 
organic products. It clarifies: (1) What substances may be used; (2) 
the difference between post-harvest handling of raw agricultural crops 
and further processing; and (3) the provisions for facility pest 
management. This draft guidance also defines post-harvest substances. 
This draft guidance, once finalized, would clarify which substances may 
be used in post-harvest handling on organic farms and in processing 
facilities.
    The NOP selected the topic for the draft guidance document 
announced through this notice in response to questions received from 
certifiers and organic operations. These stakeholders requested that 
the NOP clarify the

[[Page 22887]]

requirements and limitations regarding the substances permitted in 
post-harvest handling. The NOP also discussed and received feedback on 
this topic at a training session for certifiers in Portland, Oregon, in 
February 2011.
    The draft guidance is available from NOP on its Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Once finalized, final guidance would be available 
in ``The Program Handbook: Guidance and Instructions for Accredited 
Certifying Agents (ACAs) and Certified Operations''. This Handbook 
provides those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with 
guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the 
USDA organic regulations. The current edition of the Program Handbook 
is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop.

II. Significance of Guidance

    This draft guidance document is 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. This draft 
guidance represents NOP's current thinking on the topic. 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. As 
with any alternative compliance approach, NOP strongly encourages 
industry to discuss alternative approaches with 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.

III. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to Internet may obtain the draft guidance at 
either NOP's Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop or http://www.regulations.gov. Requests for hard copies of the draft guidance 
documents can be obtained by submitting a written request to the person 
listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 6501-6522.

    Dated: April 21, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-09390 Filed 4-24-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P