Organic Pesticide Recall Could Threaten Family Farms
Agriculture is one of the absolute most important industries, as human survival literally depends on the ability to produce food for consumption.
But like any other industry, agriculture is vulnerable to risks that can jeopardize individual operations.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced in late June that it is has issued a stop sale, use and remove order (SSURO) for six products that were previously represented to be organic.
A complaint was filed with the agency in late December by an organic grower. He was about to apply Southern Ag’s Triple Action Neem Oil to his crop. That insecticide product is labeled organic.
However, the grower tested it and found that it tested positive for a non-organic pesticide that was not listed on the produce’s ingredient label, which is required under state law.
ODA conducted an inspection and found that the product contained two other pesticides. The agency issued its initial SSURO in February, but an administrative hearing was requested.
As part of that process, ODA officials purchased and tested six other similar products that had been labeled organic. All six of them tested positive for non-organic ingredients that were not included on their labels.
Any consumers who wish to dispose of those products can participate in one of the household waste collection events sponsored by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. There are several such events taking place all over the state throughout the next several months, and you can click here for more information or call 1-800-732-9253. The ODA also has a website set up that is specifically devoted to its pesticides program. It can be accessed by clicking this link.
These kinds of regulatory developments present multiple risks for agricultural producers. There are the immediate, upfront costs of product recalls. However, the long-term costs and consequences are more severe.
Organic growers who have utilized those six products may now be required to test their crops and fields to determine if they are contaminated. Regaining their organic certification can take anywhere from three to five years, depending on which states they operate in. You may contact Oregon Tilth Main Office at 877-378-0690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your organic certification.
Most family farms operate on slim margins, so incidents such as these have the potential to put producers out of business. Oregon, in particular, has many family-owned farms. Agriculture is one of the state’s largest industries, so it could have a ripple affect on the state’s entire economy.
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