( USDA )

A letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reminded all Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act licensees that fresh produce irradiated or fumigated for pest exclusion reasons can’t be labeled as organic. 

The letter, from USDA’s Fair Trade Practices Program and National Organic Program, said PACA licensees who sell or label such treated products as organic may be subject to misbranding penalties under the Organic Foods Production Act and the PACA. 

The letter said all known fumigants are prohibited for use under USDA organic regulations.

“Be advised that a PACA licensee who sells, labels or represents agricultural commodities as ‘organic’ when they are not may be subject to civil penalties, license suspension, or license revocation under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act,” the letter said.