Here’s something to think about the next time you decide to include “organic” chicken in your meal. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed a rule in the July 14 Federal Register to amend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National List of Allowed & Prohibited Substances (National List) to extend the use of synthetic methionine in organic poultry production until Oct. 1, 2010. The National Organic Standards Board made the recommendation on May 22, 2008.

DL-methionine, DL-methionine-hydroxyl analog and DL-methionine-hydroxyl analog calcium were originally included on the National List in 2003, and was scheduled for expiration on Oct. 1, 2008. AMS said methionine was petitioned by organic livestock producers as a part of the NOSB’s 1995 initial review of synthetic amino acids considered for use in organic livestock production.

The petitioners asserted that methionine was a necessary dietary supplement for organic poultry, due to an inadequate supply of organic feeds containing sufficient concentrations of naturally occurring methionine (ie stuff chickens normally like to eat – organic whole wheat, organic whole oats, alfalfa meal, sunflower meal, fish meal and limestone). Petitioners suggested synthetic methionine would be fed as a dietary supplement to organic poultry at levels ranging from 0.3 to 0.5% of the animal’s total diet. The petitioners also asserted that a prohibition on the use of synthetic methionine would contribute to nutritional deficiencies in organic poultry thereby jeopardizing the animal’s health.

Read more at: There’s a synthetic in my organic chicken