Natural Organic Reduction Bill Clears Assembly Committee

Natural Organic Reduction Bill Clears Assembly Committee

A bill that would allow families to choose natural organic reduction as a form of disposition, under the supervision of a licensed funeral director, was unanimously approved by the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee on May 16, 2024.

The measure, A-4085, had changed significantly since first introduced in a previous legislative session, now mirroring input from the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association that places the process under the purview of licensed funeral directors as a process and not final disposition.

“Natural Organic Reduction” is the process of controlled supervised decomposition of a human body. This controlled supervised decomposition means the contained and accelerated conversion of human remains into a soil-like product that requires thorough oversight by licensed funeral directors specially trained in the handling of human remains, anatomy, communicable disease, pathology, microbiology and the like. Because of the intense supervisory role of funeral directors, the process needs to be written into the mortuary statutes, the NJSFDA maintains.

Additionally, a natural organic reduction facility should be a secure and dedicated structure, room or other space within a registered mortuary or on registered mortuary property devoted solely to the process of natural organic reduction of a human body.

Samantha Minchello, director of government affairs for the NJSFDA, testified that the association believes in consumer choice and supports this bill as now properly etched into the mortuary statutes. The NJSFDA worked with Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr. (D-7) and Senator Joseph F. Vitale (D-19), the bill sponsors, to change the measure’s previous language, moving natural organic reduction out of the cemetery statutes and into the mortuary statutes while ensuring that the state’s separation of industries policies remain intact. 

Anthony J. “AJ” Papavero Jr.

Anthony J. “AJ” Papavero Jr.

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Ask the Manager

The NJSFDA Manager of the Day program provides members with a resource for addressing and resolving problems that arise in the daily operations of their funeral homes. Here are some matters that were brought to the attention of the Manager of the Day in recent months.

Who Is Considered Medically Incapacitated?

We have a case where the decedent’s next of kin is physically incapable of signing the forms needed to execute arrangements. She has a person with power of attorney to help her. Can the person with POA sign or should we just move on to the...
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Mailing Address vs. Residence on Death Certificates

A decedent used a PO box for a mailing address. Can this be entered as the address on the death certificate?

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Disinterments with Court Orders

I’ve been contacted by our area medical examiner and law enforcement about disinterring the remains of an unidentified body. Law enforcement is seeking a court order for the disinterment. Do they also need a disinterment permit to remove...
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