NOP says tests should increase confidence in organics - The Packer

NOP says tests should increase confidence in organics

02/22/2013 04:36:00 PM
Coral Beach

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic program reminded growers in a blog that certifying agents now must do residue tests on products from a minimum of 5% of the operations they certify as part of the agency’s stepped up enforcement efforts.

National Organic Program deputy administrator Miles McEvoy said in the blog entry the testing will help certifying agents take enforcement action against farms and businesses intentionally using prohibited substances or methods. He said agents can also use test results to identify and address instances in which organic products may have unintentionally come in contact with prohibited substances.

Certifying agents will continue to determine which organic operations should be tested, McEvoy said.

“Some testing will likely be random, while other testing will be risk-based,” McEvoy’s blog states. “Since there will be wide variety in how organic operations are selected and which tests are conducted, test results will not be used to make broad conclusions about a specific commodity or category of products.”

The mandated minimum testing, which began Jan. 1, should increase consumer confidence as well as confidence in the integrity of USDA organic products among international trade partners, McEvoy said.

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Mischa Popoff    
Osoyoos BC Canada  |  February, 23, 2013 at 02:19 PM

Miles McEvoy should be commended for FINALLY making good on his three-year-old promise to begin testing organic crops and livestock (see But the only way this plan will increase consumer confidence is if the testing is done IN THE FIELD. There is no point whatsoever testing end-product (post-hharvest) when it comes to organic certification. Roundup herbicide, for instance, only remains detectable for up to 28 days. And synthetic ammonium nitrate fertilizer becomes indistinguishable from natural nitrogen after it's taken up by a plant. So, if any of the operations tested by USDA-accredited certifying agencies receive post-harvest tests, it will be a complete waste of time.

Clint Albano    
Cairo, Egypt  |  February, 28, 2013 at 09:53 PM

But your points only demonstrate that in cases of new generation pesticides that leave no residue, what good is "organic" then, other than a philosopy. As for ammonium nitrate being indistinguishable from "natural" nitrogen, good point again. . Only you are wrong about it being "indistingushable" only after the plant takes it up. Nitrogen is taken up by the plant in certain molecular forms from the soil. They are the same whether they come from the "synthetic" forms or the so called natural. They do not become indistinguishable after they are in the plant. They are that way before. I must say, though, that you organic people are great publicists. The public generally believes your nonsense.

California  |  February, 28, 2013 at 02:49 PM

It is obvious that requiring 5% of all organic produce be tested verifies it is believed there is much cheating conducted producers. There is no certain way to know what operations are conducted on the farm after dark, weekends and holidays! This new reg won't change much.

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