Positive news for organic consumers from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting currently taking place in Providence, Rhode Island: the NOSB has rejected the petitions to allow synthetic versions of the nutrients taurine, lycopene, lutein and l-carnitine in organic foods, including organic infant formula.
This is a huge victory for the organic community and those who believe in organic integrity, and represents a shift in the recent direction of the NOSB.
The organic seal should signal that the product is free from unnecessary synthetic ingredients—an alternative to the chemical cocktails of the conventional food supply that some call “food.” By rejecting these petitions, the NOSB reaffirmed that synthetic nutrients and synthetic preservatives have no place in organic foods. Cornucopia provided significant written and oral testimony to the NOSB urging rejection of these questionable synthetic ingredients.
Infant formula manufacturers, and their consultants and lobbyists, were present in huge numbers seeking to sway the 15-member board in their favor. This outpouring resembled the heavy corporate lobbying that preceded previous votes at earlier meetings of the NOSB where they approved the use of carrageenan and DHA/ARA in organics (less the lobby campaign from the dairy giant Dean Foods (WhiteWave/Horizon).
The Board did approve one synthetic nutrient, l-methionine, for use in organic soy-based infant formula only. Without the addition of l-methionine, soy-based formula is nutritionally incomplete. Cornucopia had recommended that l-methionine may be added to soy-based formula only, given that this is required by the FDA.