WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave interim approval here last week to the use of 38 non-organic ingredients in products it certifies organic. Under the rule, organic manufacturers will be permitted to continue use of non-organic ingredients including food coloring, hops, chipotle chili pepper and whey protein concentrate, while additional comments are sought over a 60-day period that began last Thursday. Before an organic handling operation can consider using a non-organic, agricultural minor ingredient, the organic form of the ingredient must first be sourced and confirmed unavailable, according to the proposal. A minor ingredient cannot comprise more than 5% of an “organic” product. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service initially published a proposal to add the 38 ingredients to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances on May 15. AMS received 1,250 comments on the rule during a subsequent seven-day comments period. Many expressed concern about the abbreviated comments period.
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