Center for Food Safety Files Petition with USDA to Revoke Existing Organic Certification for Nearly All Microgreens and Significant Volumes of Berries, Tomatoes and Leafy Greens
The Center for Produce Safety delivered a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture calling for the USDA to
- Issue new regulations prohibiting organic certification of hydroponic agricultural production based on the National Organic Standards Board’s April 29, 2010 recommendation on Production Standards for Terrestrial Plants in Containers and Enclosures.
- Specifically, amend 7 C.F.R. 205.105, Allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients in organic production and handling, to prohibit hydroponic systems.
- Ensure that ecologically integrated organic production practices are maintained as a requirement for organic certification as defined by the existing OFPA regulations.
- Revoke any existing organic certifications previously issued to hydroponic operations.
The petition defines “hydroponics” as “a diverse array of systems which incorporate, to some degree, containers that house plant roots in either a liquid solution or various solid substrates, including coconut coir, soil, compost, vermicompost, peat moss, bark, sawdust, rice hulls, potting soil and a number of other growing media.” In short, any production system that uses a container or tray or soil lining that isolates the roots of a plant from the outer crust of the Earth is targeted for decertification by the petition.
The petition states that the following groups support the decertification effort – The Cornucopia Institute, Food & Water Watch, Cultivate Oregon, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Certification Service, Northwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA), Organic Farmers Association (OFA), Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA), Northeast Organic Farming Association Interstate Council, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ), Northwest (sic) Organic Farming Association – New York (NOFA-NY), Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), and PCC Community Markets.
Here is a copy of the press release issued by CFS. The CFS did successfully bring legal action to overturn USDA National Organic Program guidance that allowed the use of compost made from materials collected under municipal yard clipping collection programs.
We have not heard any reaction from USDA at this time.