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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
USDA: Pesticides, Chemicals, and Synthetic Ingredients Used in 'Organic' Food
By Andrew Walden @ 11:58 PM :: 9724 Views :: Agriculture, GMOs

by Andrew Walden

The United States Department of Agriculture publishes a "National List of allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients" for "organic" foods.  Contrary to the marketing image created by the multi-billion dollar "organic" multi-national corporations, "organic" does not mean pesticide-free, nor does it mean "natural." 

To help clarify matters, here is a selection of some of the most interesting ingredients included in "organic" foods and another list of synthetic pesticides and other substances allowed for use in "organic" crop and livestock production.  The entire 26-page list, current as of January 13, 2014, may be found on the US Government Printing Office website

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The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (excerpts)

USDA: 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:

  1. Acids (Alginic; Citric—produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).
  2. Agar-agar.
  3. Animal enzymes—(Rennet—animals derived; Catalase—bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).
  4. Attapulgite—as a processing aid in the handling of plant and animal oils.
  5. Bentonite.
  6. Calcium carbonate.
  7. Calcium chloride.
  8. Calcium sulfate—mined.
  9. Carrageenan.
  10. Dairy cultures.
  11. Diatomaceous earth—food filtering aid only.
  12. Egg white lysozyme (CAS # 9001-63-2)
  13. Enzymes—must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.
  14. Gellan gum (CAS # 71010-52-1)—high-acyl form only.
  15. Glucono delta-lactone—production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.
  16. Kaolin.
  17. L-Malic acid (CAS # 97-67-6).
  18. Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.
  19. Microorganisms—any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.
  20. Nitrogen—oil-free grades.
  21. Oxygen—oil-free grades.
  22. Perlite—for use only as a filter aid in food processing.
  23. Potassium chloride.
  24. Potassium iodide.
  25. Sodium bicarbonate.
  26. Sodium carbonate.
  27. Tartaric acid—made from grape wine.
  28. Waxes—nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).
  29. 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:

  1. Acidified sodium chlorite—Secondary direct antimicrobial food treatment and indirect food contact surface sanitizing. Acidified with citric acid only.
  2. Activated charcoal—only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.
  3. Alginates.
  4. Ammonium bicarbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
  5. Ammonium carbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
  6. Ascorbic acid.
  7. Calcium citrate.
  8. Calcium hydroxide.
  9. Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).
  10. Carbon dioxide.
  11. Cellulose—for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.
  12. 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).
  13. Cyclohexylamine —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
  14. Diethylaminoethanol —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
  15. Ethylene—allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.
  16. Ferrous sulfate—for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).
  17. Glycerides (mono and di)—for use only in drum drying of food.
  18. Glycerin—produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.
  19. Hydrogen peroxide.
  20. Magnesium carbonate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
  21. Magnesium chloride—derived from sea water.
  22. Magnesium stearate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
  23. Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.
  24. Octadecylamine —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
  25. Ozone.
  26. Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid —for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.
  27. Phosphoric acid—cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.
  28. Potassium acid tartrate.
  29. Potassium carbonate.
  30. Potassium citrate.
  31. Potassium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.
  32. Potassium phosphate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
  33. Silicon dioxide—Permitted as a defoamer. Allowed for other uses when organic rice hulls are not commercially available.
  34. Sodium acid pyrophosphate —for use only as a leavening agent.
  35. Sodium citrate.
  36. Sodium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.
  37. Sodium phosphates—for use only in dairy foods.
  38. Sulfur dioxide—for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.
  39. Tetrasodium pyrophosphate —for use only in meat analog products.
  40. Tocopherols—derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.
  41. Xanthan gum.

  *   *   *   *   *

§205.601   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

  1. Calcium hypochlorite
  2. Chlorine dioxide
  3. Sodium hypochlorite
  4. Copper sulfate
  5. Ozone gas
  6. Peracetic acid
  7. Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate
  8. Ammonium
  9. Ammonium carbonate
  10. Aqueous potassium silicate
  11. Boric acid
  12. Elemental sulfur
  13. Calcium polysulfide
  14. Suffocating Oil
  15. Sucrose octanoate esters
  16. Ferric phosphate
  17. Copper hydroxide
  18. Copper oxide
  19. Copper oxychloride
  20. Hydrated lime
  21. Hydrogen peroxide
  22. Potassium bicarbonate
  23. Streptomycin
  24. Tetracycline
  25. Humic acids
  26. Alkali extracts
  27. Lignin sulfonate
  28. Soluble boron products
  29. Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt
  30. Sulfuric acid
  31. Sulfurous acid
  32. Ethylene gas
  33. Sodium silicate
  34. Hydrogen chloride
  35. Magnesium sulfate

  *   *   *   *   *

Organic Cattle Production:

  1. Atropine
  2. Butorphanol
  3. Chlorhexidine
  4. Calcium hypochlorite
  5. Chlorine dioxide
  6. Sodium hypochlorite
  7. Flunixin
  8. Furosemide
  9. Glycerine
  10. Magnesium hydroxide
  11. Magnesium sulfate
  12. Oxytocin
  13. Fenbendazole
  14. Ivermectin
  15. Moxidectin
  16. Peroxyacetic/peracetic acid
  17. Phosphoric acid
  18. Poloxalene
  19. Tolazoline
  20. Xylazine
  21. Lidocaine
  22. Procaine
  23. DL-Methionine, DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog, and DL-Methionine-hydroxy analog calcium

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26 page printout: USDA-Approved Pesticides for Use on 'Organic' Farms


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