It is good to hear that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred Program web portal is open again for companies to apply for the voluntary USDA Certified Biobased Product label. Up-to-date, the agency said about 900 individual products have received the USDA label and that there are there are currently 9,000 designated biobased products in 89 different categories available for preferred Federal purchasing.
Under the Farm Bill passed in 2002 and 2008, the BioPreferred Program was authorized to certify and award labels to qualifying biobased products, and designate categories of biobased products that are afforded preference by Federal agencies when making purchase decisions. Unfortunately, the 2012 Farm Bill has still not been settled by Congress and the Farm Bill extension legislation (“American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012″) passed early this year as band-aid did not include any funding for the BioPreferred program.
As a result, the USDA suspended in January the biobased products certification application because of the lack of funding. The reopening of the certification application is a welcome news, according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
“The USDA Certified Biobased Product label is a potent symbol for U.S. consumers that identifies products manufactured from renewable resources for a cleaner, healthier environment. Biobased products decrease our reliance on imported oil and save energy in manufacturing. The BioPreferred program is an effective federal policy that encourages companies to make investments, bring innovative technology to market and create new employment and economic opportunities here in the United States.” – BIO
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack noted the critical long-term importance of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to continue USDA’s investment in the BioPreferred Program.
“A Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help grow opportunity for the creation of biobased products across rural America – expanding manufacturing, and creating jobs,” said Vilsack. “This is just one more reason why we need a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible.”
The USDA recently announced that it has designated eight new biobased product categories for preferred Federal procurement. The new categories include aircraft and boat cleaners; automotive care products, engine crankcase oil; gasoline fuel additives; metal cleaners and corrosion removers; microbial cleaning products; paint removers; and water turbine bearing oils.
Later this year the BioPreferred program is also expected to finalize a rule that will extend to designating intermediate ingredients so products made from them could be part of the preferred Federal procurement process. This regulation would allow for the designation of complex assemblies that contain one or more components from biobased ingredients.
|Products with USDA BioPreferred labels|