NCAT NCAT ATTRA ATTRA

What Is Sustainable Agriculture?

Master Publication List

Education

Energy Alternatives

Beginning Farmer

Field Crops

Horticultural Crops

Livestock & Pasture

Local Food Systems

Marketing, Business & Risk Management

Organic Farming

Pest Management

Soils & Compost

Water Management

Other Resources

Calendar of Events

Home Page


Contribute to NCAT

Newsletters

Newsletter sign up button

· Privacy Policy · Newsletter Archives


RSS Icon XML Feeds

RSS 2.0: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunties Atom: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunties

 

NCAT strives to make our information available to everyone who needs it. If you are a limited-access or low-income farmer and find that one of our publications is just not in your budget, please call 800-346-9140.

 

How are we doing?

 

Find Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on Pinterst Visit the ATTRA Youtube Channel
Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week



Permalink What information can you give me on post harvest handling of organic vegetables?

D.S.
Missouri

Answer: I am pleased to provide you with information regarding organic post harvest handling procedures for your vegetables.

Peroxyacetic acid (PAA, also called peracetic acid), in combination with hydrogen peroxide, is a popular alternative to chlorine that is allowed in organic production. Like chlorine, PAA performs well in water dump tanks and water flumes. However the treatments result in safer byproducts than chlorine treatments. The disinfection performance of PAA is comparable to chlorine and ozone. To maximize effectiveness, PAA should be maintained at a level of 80 ppm in the wash water. A post-treatment wash with clean water is required for organic standards after a disinfection treatment with PAA.

There is a good publication on this topic available on E-Organic, the Extension online portal for organic information. The title of the publication is:
Approved chemicals for use in organic postharvest systems: In Wholesale Success: a farmer's guide to selling, postharvest handling, and packing produce (Midwest edition).” Silva, E. 2008.

An excerpt from this publication lists organically approved cleaners and sanitizers. I have pasted this list below.
Other Allowed Cleaners and Sanitizers (Suslow, 2000).
• Acetic acid. Allowed as a cleanser or sanitizer. Vinegar used as an ingredient must be from an organic source.
• Alcohol, Ethyl. Allowed as a disinfectant. To be used as an ingredient, the alcohol must be from an organic source.
• Alcohol, Isopropyl. May be used as a disinfectant under restricted conditions.
• Bleach. Calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide are allowed as a sanitizer for water and food contact surfaces. Product (fresh produce) wash water treated with chlorine compounds as a disinfectant cannot exceed 4ppm residual chlorine measured downstream of product contact.
• Detergents. Allowed as equipment cleaners. Also includes surfactants and wetting agents. All products must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
• Hydrogen peroxide. Allowed as a water and surface disinfectant.
• Ozone. Considered GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) for produce and equipment disinfection. This is typically cost prohibitive for most producers, however. Exposure limits for worker safety apply.
• Peroxyacetic acid. Water and fruit and vegetable surface disinfectant. (1)

Also refer to the publication “Postharvest handling for organic crops.” It oultlines some the above requirements in more detail.

We encourage all of our clients to check with their certifier to insure a specific sanitation product is allowable by the national organic standards.

References:
Silva, E. 2008. Approved chemicals for use in organic postharvest systems: In Wholesale success: a farmer's guide to selling, postharvest handling, and packing produce (Midwest edition).” E-Extension. http://www.extension.org/article/18355

Resources:
Suslow, T.V. 2000. Postharvest handling for organic crops. Organic Vegetable Production in California Series. Pub. 7254. University of California Davis.
Editor's note: this was written in 2000 and some of the information is no longer accurate. Check with your certifier before using any product.

ATTRA Publication
Postharvest Handling of Fruits and Vegetables

 Permalink

 

« What information can you give me on fly control methods? :: What are some resources for spelt production? »

Question of the Week Archives
[Contact]