which can negatively affect other produce. Ethylene stimulates terpene production in carrots, making them bitter. Ethylene also accelerates ripening in peaches, leading to premature spoilage. Passing the
“air” of a storage room through potassium-permanganate-adsorbent
blankets or sachets removes ethylene from the atmosphere. As long as
the potassium permanganate never contacts the fruit, it can be used
without appearing on the National List.
On the other hand, synthetically produced ethylene can be used to
ripen green tropical and degreen citrus fruits, and is permitted in organic processing at Section 205.605(b) and in organic crop production at Section 205.601(k) for regulation of pineapple flowering.
“W“When used for sprout control, clove oil is considered a growth regulator subject to regulation by EPA.”
ited for crop use. It’s not an ingredient or processing aid, and thus it is allowed at Section 205.105(b) as a
post-harvest material. However, some
certifiers have not allowed clove oil or
nonsynthetic eugenol for suppressing
potato sprouting during storage unless these materials are certified organic. Their reasoning is that clove oil
is not listed on 205.606 as a nonorganic ingredient allowed in or on
processed foods labeled as organic.
Clove oil, incidentally, is affirmed as
GRAS by FDA [ 21 CFR 184.1257(b)].
When used for sprout control, clove
oil is considered a growth regulator
subject to regulation by EPA, even
though clove oil and eugenol products may be sold in formulations exempt from pesticide registration.
Many fruits and vegetables make their own natural waxy coating to
help retain moisture. After harvest, produce is repeatedly washed,
which takes off much of its natural wax. Waxes can be applied to some
produce items at the packing shed to replace these natural waxes.
Waxes also help inhibit mold growth, protect fruits and vegetables
from bruising and other physical damage, and enhance appearance.
Nonsynthetic plant waxes, specifically carnauba wax and wood
resin, are allowed at Section 205.605(a). The NOSB approved plant
waxes for “handling,” but coating agricultural products with wax is
considered a form of “processing,” whether it occurs on the farm or
elsewhere. The plant waxes on fruit are ingested by the consumer, so
they are ingredients, according to FDA. Carnauba wax is affirmed as
GRAS (generally recognized as safe) at 21 CFR 184.1978. Wood resin
is an approved indirect food additive [ 21 CFR 178.3870(a)(1)(ii)].
Suppressing Sprouting in Potatoes
When potatoes start sprouting while in storage, it reduces air circulation through the stored potato pile, leading to increased pile temperatures and an increase in disease problems. Sprouting also triggers
the conversion of starch to sugars, which results in darkening when
the potatoes are fried.
The essential oils of some herbs and spices suppress sprouting in
potatoes. These oils include spearmint oil, peppermint oil and clove
oil. Clove oil is the only commercialized nonsynthetic sprout suppressor. The active principal in clove oil is the volatile compound eugenol,
which represents 60 percent of clove oil. Eugenol acts by physically
damaging developing sprouts. Because clove oil and eugenol are
volatile, treatments are repeated at three- to six-week intervals. The
substance dissipates into the environment and does not persist on potatoes that are marketed or used in processing.
Washing Freshly Harvested Pro-
duce with Pest Control Solutions
When fruits come off the tree and
vegetables come out of the ground,
they are not sterile. They bear dirt,
mold spores and bacteria and can
even contain pathogens such as
Salmonella, Listeria or E. coli. This can be
controlled by subjecting the freshly
harvested produce to a rinse that sanitizes the surface and eliminates pests
and microbes that might make you
sick or damage the produce.
Each section of the National List
permits the use of several synthetic
disinfectants and sanitizers in organic
production and processing, consistent with the requirement at Section
205.206(e) to use management practices to prevent crop pests and diseases. The regulations of FDA, EPA
and FSIS are consistent with implementation of the NOP Rule. For example, post-harvest washing of
organic raw agricultural commodities
with peroxyacetic acid (PAA), a GRAS
solution made of hydrogen peroxide
and acetic acid, is enabled by the inclusion of PAA on the National List.
Sanitizers must also conform to the
EPA regulations at 40 CFR 180.1196