Sunday, July 14th, 2013

USDA Reopens Web Portal for Certified Biobased Product Label Applications

As a strong supporter of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s BioPreferred Program, the SPI Bioplastics Council, which is a committee of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, is calling attention to the reopening of the web portal that allows online application for the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label.

The news of the web portal’s reopening was contained in an announcement made on July 11, 2013 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack of eight new biobased product categories (listed below) for preferred federal procurement.

SPI’s Bioplastics Council is calling association members’ attention to the reopening of the web portal.

In conjunction with announcing the web portal’s reopening, the BioPreferred Program noted that so far about 900 individual products have received the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label. The Program is expected to finalize a rule later this year that will extend to designating intermediate ingredients so that products made from them could be part of the federal preferred procurement process. The rule would also allow for designation of complex assemblies that contain one or more components from biobased ingredients.

The BioPreferred Program was authorized in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. A new version of the Farm Bill that was passed on July 11, 2013 by the House is contentious and is expected to face opposition in the Senate and a possible Presidential veto, based on the administration’s initial understanding of the House bill’s content. Debate on the Farm Bill is expected to continue into the fall, according to the Washington Post.

In yesterday’s announcement, Secretary Vilsack noted that a long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is critical to continued USDA investment in the BioPreferred Program. He said, “A Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help grow opportunity for the creation of biobased products across rural America – expanding manufacturing, and creating jobs.”

As a practical matter, applying for a USDA Certified Biobased Product Label requires first applying for and receiving a Level 1 USDA eAuthentication account, which provides a user ID and password needed to complete the actual electronic application for the Label. Click here for the application starting page on the USDA BioPreferred Program website.

As promised above, the eight new biobased product categories that USDA has designated for preferred federal procurement are: 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. A full list was published in the June 11, 2013 Federal Register.

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