US organic poultry producers have been given extended access to a synthetic feed additive which helps maintain healthy growth.
Synthetic methionine, which is classified as an essential amino acid, was due to be banned in organic production on October 1 2012. However, in a final rule published this week, the National Organic Standards Board determined that organic producers should be able to continue to use small amounts of the product.
“The National Organic Standards Board determined that while wholly natural substitute products exist, they are not presently available in sufficient supplies to meet poultry producer needs. Therefore, some allowance for synthetic methionine is necessary to comprise a nutritionally adequate diet for organic poultry,” said the official statement on the rule.
Under the new rule, organic poultry producers will be able to use synthetic methionine a at maximum of 2lb per tonne of feed for broiler chickens and 3lb per tonne of feed for all other poultry.
However, the rule encourages the organic poultry sector to further investigate commercially viable alternatives to synthetic methionine. “USDA has funded several research projects aimed at breeding organic feed corn with higher levels of natural methionine and also concerning poultry management strategies to reduce the need for supplemental methionine. Further research is still needed and encouraged in research grant applications,” said the statement.