What you need to know about organics

09/16/2011 08:50:00 AM
Amelia Freidline

Mischa Popoff, guest columnistWherever you go in the world, organic food standards fail to uphold even the most basic rules of common sense. 


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Michael LaBelle    
Alabama  |  September, 16, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Mischa, I agree with you, but would like to add something to your comments as well. Organics as you correctly pointed out is not subject to common sense. My company, Mighty Grow Organics, manufactures organic fertilizer from poultry litter. One of the issue farmers, especially conventional farmers, have with organic fertilizer is that the nitrogen levels are too low. I could fix that issue if I were allowed to add urea, a synthetic fertilizer, but chemically identical to organic urea (which is very common in raw animal manure) to my fertilizer at the beginning of the process. A quick background of how i manufacture my fertilizer. I take raw poultry litter, add water and trace minerals to it and deep stack it until the internal temps go over 140 degrees F. I then turn the material till temps rise again and then anaerobically digest the material for 4-6 weeks. If I were "allowed" to add urea to the raw litter on the front end, by the time the material had finished being "processed" the urea would be "organic". But the rules don't allow for such innovative thinking. Organic is a negative term, more about what NOT to do than what TO do. Oh well. Organic farmers clamored for someone to do "something". Well they got it, but now don't like what they asked for. That is why so many organic producers are dropping their certification and simply going for "locally" grown using organic principles, thereby avoiding all the paperwork and expense. Michael in Alabama www.mightygrow.com

small farmer    
new york state  |  October, 10, 2011 at 12:57 PM

wait - you're complaining because you have to comply with the law that created the market for your product? what happens to your competitive advantage when anyone can spray a bunch of urea on litter? it's gone. and ITS NOT ORGANIC! DUH! What a whiner

Dan    
September, 16, 2011 at 10:16 AM

maybe you'll be interested in this website: www.b-greensol.com

Robert Richardson, Ph.D.    
Florida  |  September, 22, 2011 at 01:14 PM

This opinion is timely in that for many years, so-called organic produce has been sold on the market with zero control over the method of growing. Never mind that the organic rules themselves do not make sense, but even produce that is certified organic, pesticide levels can be quite dangerous. Ten years ago, I was commissioned to undertake a study on Colombian, Mexican, and Guatemalan produce certified as organic to determine the pesticide exposure. I took samples from supermarket shelves all over the US from both coasts and the middle. 100% had pesticide residues and the majority showed exposure to pesticides banned in the US since the 1960's. All were certified organic and all failed the multi-pesticide tests done using HPLC in a modern lab. I don't think I would spend the extra money on organic anything until the rules made sense, such as documentation of actual pesticide use during a cropping season and dropping the chemical fertilizer prohibition. That is simply senseless; everything is a chemical, even water. Trying to supply mineral fertilization to modern crops via "natural" animal droppings, etc. is laughably simple-minded and poor business. It is time to overhaul the silly parts of what constitutes organic.

small farmer    
new york state  |  October, 10, 2011 at 01:01 PM

you're supposed to be more believable because of your PhD? right. So, ten years ago you did this study? So, you mean before the USDA standards, then. Null and void.

small farmer    
new york state  |  October, 08, 2011 at 07:11 PM

Mr. Popoff, I see you've changed the way you write your supposed credentials. Until recently, you fraudulently called yourself "an IOIA Advanced Inspector" on your posts around the web. IOIA said about your made-up title - there is no such thing as an Advanced Inspector. No one believes your misinformation and baloney. Any web search brings up the kind of stuff you write. The readers of The Packer are too smart for this! It appears you only want attention. Shame on you for wrecking hard-working peoples livelihoods - just for another published title under your belt.. Bluff and baloney

Mischa Popoff    
Osoyoos BC  |  May, 04, 2012 at 06:17 PM

Dear Michael: I have heard similar agronomic arguments made for the use of limited amounts of urea on certified-organic fields. The idea being to coax the release of otherwise non-available nitrogen from the soil by introducing a small amount of pure nitrogen in a totally usable form. Sadly, the idea is rejected outright by the organic industry. As such, you're quite right that "organic" is a negative term. President Clinton for instance envisaged uniting the organic industry with the biotech sector, and there are many who believe that Obama and Secretary Vilsack agree. But the organic industry is afraid of losing one of its biggest bugbears, its phantom menace... the dreaded genetically-engineered plant. As long as organic activists can bring in the donations and convert people to buying overpriced "organic" food from Mexico and China based on people's fear of biotech, they will never so much as consider a truce much less the unification that Clinton envisioned. And so the negativity lives on. i hope this might provide a bit of insight into why no amount of synthetic nitrogen will EVER be allowed ANYWHERE in organic production, even if the concept is scientifically sound, even from an organic perspective.

David    
USA  |  October, 18, 2011 at 03:50 PM

Where can one get a multi-pesticide test done on "organic" produce? I haven't been able to find anyone to do this on the east coast.

Marco    
PA  |  May, 07, 2012 at 03:11 AM

Dear David, I can tell you that I have been looking around on the Eastcoast to get some sort of testing done to check the product residue levels. have not found any either on the Eastcoast. We started using EMA environmental Analysis that is located in CA. We bag our produce samples and Fedex them to CA. After a few days you have the results via e-mail, and you know if your product has passed the testing... Cost $280 dollars per container. ( on an apple container for example $0,23 per case) For OTC this is the way to make sure we import 100% organic produce... If you would like receive a sample on what they test for, send me an e-mail......

Mischa Popoff    
Osoyoos BC  |  December, 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

In response to small farmer's accusation that I am fraudulently calling myself "an IOIA Advanced Inspector", and his claim that IOIA said "there is no such thing as an Advanced Inspector," I invite everyone to have a look at the screenshots I have posted on my website of IOIA's Organic Inspector Training program. As you'll plainly see, IOIA does indeed list "Advanced Organic Inspector" training. Just click here: http://www.isitorganic.ca/attempted_drive-by_smear/guide_to_ioia_organic_inspector_training_program You can also see an IOIA Advanced Training scheduled for March 22-24, 2013 by clicking here: http://www.ioia.net/schedule_list.html and scrolling down a bit. Sorry small farmer, whoever you are.

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