Regarding the January 2, 2006 Houston Chronicle editorial Messing with nature:
Like organic standards around the world, U.S. organic standards have always allowed a limited list of specific stringently reviewed synthetic materials in organic agriculture and post-harvest handling and processing. No synthetic ingredients may be allowed in organic production without the approval of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a citizen's advisory council to the United States Department of Agriculture.
All 38 items allowed for processing, including baking powder, vitamin E, and carbon dioxide, were reviewed and accepted by the NOSB. These allowable substances can only make up 5 percent or less of the ingredients within a product labeled as "USDA Organic." Regardless of size, any business that wants to use the word organic on their food products must meet or exceed the National Organic Standards.
Bi-partisan legislative action taken in October restored the national organic program that was developed through over a decade of public input. As a result, consumers can still purchase their favorite products with the "USDA Organic" seal, and farmers can continue to have outlets for their organic crops.
Katherine DiMatteo, executive director
Organic Trade Association, Greenfield, MA