Thursday was the fourth and final day of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California. At least twice a year the 15-member expert stakeholder panel meets at different locations around the country. The NOSB was created by Congress to represent the interests of the organic community, rather than allowing the industry to be dominated by corporate lobbyists, as is the custom in Washington.
High Drama: Synthetic Methionine Approved at Higher Levels of Administration
The independent block of NOSB members, farmers and academics courageously led a fight to try to constrain the use of the synthetic amino acid, methionine, in poultry use.
Organic laying hens and meat birds need methionine, an essential amino acid, as part of their diet but they can get it from natural sources, being afforded legitimate outdoor access and a diet more suited to their species (as omnivores).
Intrepidly led by public interest representative Dr. Calvin Walker, the independents on the board tried and failed to convince their colleagues to both restrain methionine use and create a date certain for its removal from organic production.
Dr. Walker cited numerous past votes by the NOSB, working to reduce methionine use, and prevent its increased application, and asked the board colleagues to respect the history, and investment, of past NOSB members — to no avail. The livestock subcommittee chair, who was facilitating the debate, even cut Dr. Walker off before he could finish. Read Full Article »