(a) In general
The Secretary shall establish a National Organic Standards Board (in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act) (hereafter referred to in this section as the "Board") to assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary on any other aspects of the implementation of this chapter.
(b) Composition of Board
The Board shall be composed of 15 members, of which—
(1) four shall be individuals who own or operate an organic farming operation, or employees of such individuals;
(2) two shall be individuals who own or operate an organic handling operation, or employees of such individuals;
(3) one shall be an individual who owns or operates a retail establishment with significant trade in organic products, or an employee of such individual;
(4) three shall be individuals with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation;
(5) three shall be individuals who represent public interest or consumer interest groups;
(6) one shall be an individual with expertise in the fields of toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry; and
(7) one shall be an individual who is a certifying agent as identified under section 6515 of this title.
Not later than 180 days after November 28, 1990, the Secretary shall appoint the members of the Board under paragraph (1) through (6) of subsection (b) (and under subsection (b)(7) at an appropriate date after the certification of individuals as certifying agents under section 6515 of this title) from nominations received from organic certifying organizations, States, and other interested persons and organizations.
A member of the Board shall serve for a term of 5 years, except that the Secretary shall appoint the original members of the Board for staggered terms. A member cannot serve consecutive terms unless such member served an original term that was less than 5 years.
The Secretary shall convene a meeting of the Board not later than 60 days after the appointment of its members and shall convene subsequent meetings on a periodic basis.
(f) Compensation and expenses
A member of the Board shall serve without compensation. While away from their homes or regular places of business on the business of the Board, members of the Board may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as is authorized under section 5703 of title 5 for persons employed intermittently in the Government service.
The Board shall select a Chairperson for the Board.
A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.
(i) Decisive votes (1) In general
2/3 of the votes cast at a meeting of the Board at which a quorum is present shall be decisive of any motion.
(2) National list
Any vote on a motion proposing to amend the national list shall be considered to be a decisive vote that requires 2/3 of the votes cast at a meeting of the Board at which a quorum is present to prevail.
(j) Other terms and conditions
The Secretary shall authorize the Board to hire a staff director and shall detail staff of the Department of Agriculture or allow for the hiring of staff and may, subject to necessary appropriations, pay necessary expenses incurred by such Board in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
(k) Responsibilities of Board (1) In general
The Board shall provide recommendations to the Secretary regarding the implementation of this chapter.
(2) National List
The Board shall develop the proposed National List or proposed amendments to the National List for submission to the Secretary in accordance with section 6517 of this title.
(3) Technical advisory panels
The Board shall convene technical advisory panels to provide scientific evaluation of the materials considered for inclusion in the National List. Such panels may include experts in agronomy, entomology, health sciences and other relevant disciplines.
(4) Special review of botanical pesticides
The Board shall, prior to the establishment of the National List, review all botanical pesticides used in agricultural production and consider whether any such botanical pesticide should be included in the list of prohibited natural substances.
(5) Product residue testing
The Board shall advise the Secretary concerning the testing of organically produced agricultural products for residues caused by unavoidable residual environmental contamination.
(6) Emergency spray programs
The Board shall advise the Secretary concerning rules for exemptions from specific requirements of this chapter (except the provisions of section 6511 of this title) with respect to agricultural products produced on certified organic farms if such farms are subject to a Federal or State emergency pest or disease treatment program.
In establishing the proposed National List or proposed amendments to the National List, the Board shall—
(1) review available information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies, and such other sources as appropriate, concerning the potential for adverse human and environmental effects of substances considered for inclusion in the proposed National List;
(2) work with manufacturers of substances considered for inclusion in the proposed National List to obtain a complete list of ingredients and determine whether such substances contain inert materials that are synthetically produced; and
(3) submit to the Secretary, along with the proposed National List or any proposed amendments to such list, the results of the Board’s evaluation and the evaluation of the technical advisory panel of all substances considered for inclusion in the National List.
In evaluating substances considered for inclusion in the proposed National List or proposed amendment to the National List, the Board shall consider—
(1) the potential of such substances for detrimental chemical interactions with other materials used in organic farming systems;
(2) the toxicity and mode of action of the substance and of its breakdown products or any contaminants, and their persistence and areas of concentration in the environment;
(3) the probability of environmental contamination during manufacture, use, misuse or disposal of such substance;
(4) the effect of the substance on human health;
(5) the effects of the substance on biological and chemical interactions in the agroecosystem, including the physiological effects of the substance on soil organisms (including the salt index and solubility of the soil), crops and livestock;
(6) the alternatives to using the substance in terms of practices or other available materials; and
(7) its compatibility with a system of sustainable agriculture.
The Board shall establish procedures under which persons may petition the Board for the purpose of evaluating substances for inclusion on the National List.
Any confidential business information obtained by the Board in carrying out this section shall not be released to the public.
REFERENCES IN TEXT The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (a), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.AMENDMENTS 2018—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 115–334, §10104(e)(1), inserted ", or employees of such individuals" after "operation". Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 115–334, §10104(e)(2), inserted ", or employees of such individuals" after "operation". Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 115–334, §10104(e)(3), inserted ", or an employee of such individual" after "products". Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 115–334, §10104(f), designated existing provisions as par. (1), inserted heading, substituted "2/3" for "Two-thirds", and added par. (2). 1991—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–237 substituted "to assist" for "(to assist".
7 U.S.C. § 6518 (2018)