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Public Comment Period Ends July 8 for AB 856

(June 27, 2011) The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced a public comment period for amendments to the draft regulations that implement the new law (AB 856) requiring registration and review of Organic Input Materials (OIM) used in California.

Background: Last year, CDFA convened an AB 856 Subcommittee comprised of representatives of fertilizer manufacturers, compost organizations, organic certifying agents, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders in the organic and fertilizer industries. The subcommittee met several times during 2010 to help draft the regulations to implement AB 856. A public comment period and public hearing followed. The written and verbal comments were then reviewed by the California Office of Administrative Law and CDFA.

Action you can take: Public comments on an amended version of the regulations are being accepted until 5:00 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, July 8. CDFA requests that comments be limited to the modifications of the modified regulations text indicated by double underline and double strikethrough and the Addendum to the Statement of Reasons.

The relevant documents can be found on CDFA's website.
Scroll down to "Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program" and read:
1) Notice of Modifications to Text of Proposed Regulations June 24, 2011
2) Modified Text June 24, 2011
3) Addendum to the Statement of Reasons

How to submit comments: Public comments may be submitted to:
Christina Elliott or
Amadou Ba, Ph.D., Branch Chief I or
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

If you have questions, please contact:
Christina Elliott, CDFA Associate Governmental Program Analyst
(916) 445-0044

Summary of amendments:

  • Describes general provisions of labeling, introduces the logo that will be allowed to indicate OIM registration with CDFA, and clarifies how the logo can be displayed
  • Deletes past dates and actions that are no longer relevant
  • Removes unnecessary language to streamline the regulations
  • Changes the word "shall" to "may" in reference to actions that the California Secretary of Agriculture can take to determine compliance with the law. The intent is to provide the Secretary the flexibility to take samples and make analyses based on circumstances.
  • Allows CDFA to consider as guidelines the accepted definitions and official fertilizer terms listed in the 2010 American Association of Plant Food Control Officials Publication, volume 63
  • Includes OIM as a product label requiring label review and registration
  • Requires Zero tonnage reports from the licensee (which were not previously required)
  • Clarifies the civil penalty language by providing a violation matrix, civil penalty guidelines, scope of coverage, filing and notification procedures, and hearing schedule
  • Provides a concise procedure for on-site inspections of OIM manufacturers


OMRI is providing this information as a service to our clients. Please direct any questions about the regulations or amendments to CDFA as indicated above.

Best regards,

Peggy Miars
OMRI Executive Director/CEO