Paul H. Patterson of Pennsylvania State University has requested an amendment to the relevant provision in the National Organic Program Rule {7 CFR #205.603 (d) (1)} on behalf of the organic program’s Methionine Task Force. The submission requests continuation for inclusion of the amino acids DL-methionine and DL-methionine hydroxy analog in diets fed to laying hens at a level of 0.2%.

Some farmers affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program maintain that inclusion of synthetic methionine is contrary to the spirit of organic production, even though commercially available methionine supplements are biochemically identical to the natural counterpart and are metabolized in the same way.

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Incorporating non-genetically engineered corn cultivars with high lysine and methionine content into organic feed is considered a non-viable option, based on the practical difficulties of segregating these products through the production chain. Even if achievable, the cost of segregation would inflate the cost of organic-certified eggs.

There are concerns that failure to allow incorporation of synthetic methionine in diets could seriously depress efficiency of production and indirectly lead to higher mortality. Synthetic vitamins produced commercially by fermentation are allowed under current organic rules, while synthetic lysine produced by fermentation is disallowed.