Does Organic really mean "Organic"?


  • Contributor

    Your organic food is treated with pesticides too.

    So, will you lower your pesticide exposure by switching to organic? We don’t know, but the answer may very well be no. Even looking at the synthetic, non-organic pesticides in the USDA’s tests, conventional crops don’t always have the lowest amounts. Take strawberries, for example, the “dirtiest” item on the 2018 list: 75 percent of organic strawberries, and 76 percent of conventional strawberries, had pesticide levels that were under 5 percent of the allowable levels.
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    You will see near the bottom of this article that non-organic products are allowed in "organic" products.

    §205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.
    In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in

    (a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

    (1) Alcohols.

    (i) Ethanol.

    (ii) Isopropanol.

    (2) Chlorine materials—For pre-harvest use, residual chlorine levels in the water in direct crop contact or as water from cleaning irrigation systems applied to soil must not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act, except that chlorine products may be used in edible sprout production according to EPA label directions.

    (i) Calcium hypochlorite.

    (ii) Chlorine dioxide.

    (iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

    (3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

    (4) Hydrogen peroxide.

    (5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

    (6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(a) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

    (7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

    (8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #-15630-89-4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

    (b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

    (1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

    (2) Mulches.

    (i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

    (ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

    (iii) Biodegradable biobased mulch film as defined in §205.2. Must be produced without organisms or feedstock derived from excluded methods.

    (c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

    (d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

    (e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

    (1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

    (2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

    (3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

    (4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

    (5) Elemental sulfur.

    (6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.

    (7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

    (8) Soaps, insecticidal.

    (9) Sticky traps/barriers.

    (10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

    (f) As insect management. Pheromones.

    (g) As rodenticides. Vitamin D3.

    (h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045-86-0).

    (i) As plant disease control.

    (1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #-1312-76-1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

    (2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

    (3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

    (4) Hydrated lime.

    (5) Hydrogen peroxide.

    (6) Lime sulfur.

    (7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

    (8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria. Also permitted in hydrogen peroxide formulations as allowed in §205.601(i) at concentration of no more than 6% as indicated on the pesticide product label.

    (9) Potassium bicarbonate.

    (10) Elemental sulfur.

    (j) As plant or soil amendments.

    (1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

    (2) Elemental sulfur.

    (3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

    (4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant.

    (5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

    (6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

    (i) Soluble boron products.

    (ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

    (7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

    (8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

    (9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782-99-2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

    (k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.

    (l) As floating agents in post harvest handling. Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.

    (m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

    (1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.

    (2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

    (n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647-01-0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

    (o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #'s 64742-42-3, 8009-03-08, and 8002-74-2)-for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

    §205.603 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production.

    In accordance with restrictions specified in this section the following synthetic substances may be used in organic livestock production:

    (a) As disinfectants, sanitizer, and medical treatments as applicable.

    (1) Alcohols.

    (i) Ethanol-disinfectant and sanitizer only, prohibited as a feed additive.

    (ii) Isopropanol-disinfectant only.

    (2) Aspirin-approved for health care use to reduce inflammation.

    (3) Atropine (CAS #-51-55-8)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

    (i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

    (ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 56 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 12 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (4) Biologics—Vaccines.

    (5) Butorphanol (CAS #-42408-82-2)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

    (i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian; and

    (ii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 42 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 8 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (6) Chlorhexidine—Allowed for surgical procedures conducted by a veterinarian. Allowed for use as a teat dip when alternative germicidal agents and/or physical barriers have lost their effectiveness.

    (7) Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing facilities and equipment. Residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    (i) Calcium hypochlorite.

    (ii) Chlorine dioxide.

    (iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

    (8) Electrolytes—without antibiotics.

    (9) Flunixin (CAS #-38677-85-9)—in accordance with approved labeling; except that for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires a withdrawal period of at least two-times that required by the FDA.

    (10) Glucose.

    (11) Glycerin—Allowed as a livestock teat dip, must be produced through the hydrolysis of fats or oils.

    (12) Hydrogen peroxide.

    (13) Iodine.

    (14) Magnesium hydroxide (CAS #-1309-42-8)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

    (15) Magnesium sulfate.

    (16) Oxytocin—use in postparturition therapeutic applications.

    (17) Parasiticides—Prohibited in slaughter stock, allowed in emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock when organic system plan-approved preventive management does not prevent infestation. Milk or milk products from a treated animal cannot be labeled as provided for in subpart D of this part for 90 days following treatment. In breeder stock, treatment cannot occur during the last third of gestation if the progeny will be sold as organic and must not be used during the lactation period for breeding stock.

    (i) Fenbendazole (CAS #43210-67-9)—only for use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian.

    (ii) Ivermectin (CAS #70288-86-7).

    (iii) Moxidectin (CAS #113507-06-5)—for control of internal parasites only.

    (18) Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid (CAS #-79-21-0)—for sanitizing facility and processing equipment.

    (19) Phosphoric acid—allowed as an equipment cleaner, Provided, That, no direct contact with organically managed livestock or land occurs.

    (20) Poloxalene (CAS #-9003-11-6)—for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires that poloxalene only be used for the emergency treatment of bloat.

    (21) Tolazoline (CAS #-59-98-3)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

    (i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

    (ii) Use only to reverse the effects of sedation and analgesia caused by Xylazine; and

    (iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (22) Xylazine (CAS #-7361-61-7)—federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian, in full compliance with the AMDUCA and 21 CFR part 530 of the Food and Drug Administration regulations. Also, for use under 7 CFR part 205, the NOP requires:

    (i) Use by or on the lawful written order of a licensed veterinarian;

    (ii) The existence of an emergency; and

    (iii) A meat withdrawal period of at least 8 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter; and a milk discard period of at least 4 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (b) As topical treatment, external parasiticide or local anesthetic as applicable.

    (1) Copper sulfate.

    (2) Formic acid (CAS # 64-18-6)—for use as a pesticide solely within honeybee hives.

    (3) Iodine.

    (4) Lidocaine—as a local anesthetic. Use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (5) Lime, hydrated—as an external pest control, not permitted to cauterize physical alterations or deodorize animal wastes.

    (6) Mineral oil—for topical use and as a lubricant.

    (7) Procaine—as a local anesthetic, use requires a withdrawal period of 90 days after administering to livestock intended for slaughter and 7 days after administering to dairy animals.

    (8) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s-42922-74-7; 58064-47-4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

    (c) As feed supplements—None.

    (d) As feed additives.

    (1) DL-Methionine, DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog, and DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog calcium (CAS #'s 59-51-8, 583-91-5, 4857-44-7, and 922-50-9)—for use only in organic poultry production at the following maximum levels of synthetic methionine per ton of feed: Laying and broiler chickens—2 pounds; turkeys and all other poultry—3 pounds.

    (2) Trace minerals, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

    (3) Vitamins, used for enrichment or fortification when FDA approved.

    (e) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

    (1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.

    (2) [Reserved]

    (f) Excipients, only for use in the manufacture of drugs used to treat organic livestock when the excipient is: Identified by the FDA as Generally Recognized As Safe; Approved by the FDA as a food additive; or Included in the FDA review and approval of a New Animal Drug Application or New Drug Application.

    §205.605 Nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).”

    The following nonagricultural substances may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” only in accordance with any restrictions specified in this section.

    (a) Nonsynthetics allowed:

    Acids (Alginic; Citric—produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).

    Agar-agar.

    Animal enzymes—(Rennet—animals derived; Catalase—bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).

    Attapulgite—as a processing aid in the handling of plant and animal oils.

    Bentonite.

    Calcium carbonate.

    Calcium chloride.

    Calcium sulfate—mined.

    Carrageenan.

    Dairy cultures.

    Diatomaceous earth—food filtering aid only.

    Enzymes—must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.

    Flavors, nonsynthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.

    Gellan gum (CAS # 71010-52-1)—high-acyl form only.

    Glucono delta-lactone—production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.

    Kaolin.

    L-Malic acid (CAS # 97-67-6).

    Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.

    Microorganisms—any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.

    Nitrogen—oil-free grades.

    Oxygen—oil-free grades.

    Perlite—for use only as a filter aid in food processing.

    Potassium chloride.

    Potassium iodide.

    Sodium bicarbonate.

    Sodium carbonate.

    Tartaric acid—made from grape wine.

    Waxes—nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).

    Yeast—When used as food or a fermentation agent in products labeled as “organic,” yeast must be organic if its end use is for human consumption; nonorganic yeast may be used when organic yeast is not commercially available. Growth on petrochemical substrate and sulfite waste liquor is prohibited. For smoked yeast, nonsynthetic smoke flavoring process must be documented.

    (b) Synthetics allowed:

    Acidified sodium chlorite—Secondary direct antimicrobial food treatment and indirect food contact surface sanitizing. Acidified with citric acid only.

    Activated charcoal (CAS #s 7440-44-0; 64365-11-3)—only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.

    Alginates.

    Ammonium bicarbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.

    Ammonium carbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.

    Ascorbic acid.

    Calcium citrate.

    Calcium hydroxide.

    Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).

    Carbon dioxide.

    Cellulose—for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.

    Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing food contact surfaces, Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calcium hypochlorite; Chlorine dioxide; and Sodium hypochlorite).

    Ethylene—allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.

    Ferrous sulfate—for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).

    Glycerides (mono and di)—for use only in drum drying of food.

    Glycerin—produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.

    Hydrogen peroxide.

    Magnesium chloride—derived from sea water.

    Magnesium stearate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

    Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.

    Ozone.

    Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid (CAS # 79-21-0)—for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.

    Phosphoric acid—cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.

    Potassium acid tartrate.

    Potassium carbonate.

    Potassium citrate.

    Potassium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.

    Potassium phosphate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.

    Silicon dioxide—Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.

    Sodium acid pyrophosphate (CAS # 7758-16-9)—for use only as a leavening agent.

    Sodium citrate.

    Sodium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.

    Sodium phosphates—for use only in dairy foods.

    Sulfur dioxide—for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.

    Tocopherols—derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.

    Xanthan gum.

    This list goes on for many of pages...
    https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=9874504b6f1025eb0e6b67cadf9d3b40&rgn=div6&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32.7&idno=7

    q



  • organic will never be 100% in our lifetimes, we've contaminated the agriculture far too much. I recall USDA using a 99% or 95%...or 90% label or whatever the number is now to help quantify the poison we're obligated to put into our bodies.


  • Contributor

    I went cross eyed reading this.



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