USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) now requires the use of certified organic flavors in certified organic products whenever they are commercially available. The rule went into effect on Dec. 27, 2019.
The Organic Trade Assn. (OTA) submitted a petition to that effect back in 2014. While there may not have been an adequate and broad supply of organic flavors five years ago, there should be now.
“It is now time that the regulations catch up with the marketplace,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of OTA. “Our position is that the organic flavor supply has grown to a size where it is no longer appropriate to allow the use of non-organic natural flavors in certified organic products.”
Natural flavors have been included on the list of acceptable ingredients for organic products since the list was implemented in 2002. Since that time, however, many organic flavors have been developed and are being successfully used by many companies.
Currently there is no formal guidance from the National Organic Program on the commercial search and use of natural and organic flavors for NOP-certified products, says OTA. However, OTA has developed a guide to complying with the new requirements for flavors, for its members and others in the sector, that reflects the National Organic Standards Board recommendations concerning commercial availability searches for ingredients and related instruction from NOP on filing a petition.
In addition to its guide, OTA is holding a webinar at 2 p.m. EST on Jan. 29 titled "New Rules: Requirement for Using Organic Flavors in Processed Organic Products." It's free for OTA members but there is a $149 fee for non-members. Both the guide and webinar registration are available at ota.com.