Handling Organic Produce

The produce must be prepared and packaged in preparation for sale to the public. Here are some of the mechanical and biological methods that can be used to manufacture the goods: cooking, baking, curing, heating, drying, mixing, grinding, churning, separating, distilling, extracting, slaughtering, cutting, fermenting, eviscerating, preserving, dehydrating, freezing and chilling. The following are some of the processes that can be used to contain the produce: packaging, canning and jarring.

Eviscerating is a polite way of saying disembowelling or gutting! Ouch!

Permitted non-agricultural substances or non-organically produced products may be used in processed products if the organic equivalent is not available or if it is to be labelled ‘made with organic (specific ingredient).

The handler must prevent pests in similar ways to those that I mentioned earlier. The habitat, food sources and breeding areas must be removed. Access to the handling facility must be prevented. Temperature, light, humidity, atmosphere and air circulation must be controlled to prevent the pests from reproducing.

Pests can be controlled with traps, light, sounds and permitted lures and repellents.

If none of the measures above are enough to prevent or control the pests permitted synthetic or non-synthetic substances can be used. If this is still not enough, the handler may use a prohibited substance as agreed by a certifying agent, making sure to avoid contact with the organic produce. Substances required by federal, state or local laws can also be used, avoiding contact with the produce.

Commingling of organic and non-organic substances and contact with prohibited substances must be prevented. Reusable bags or containers must be cleaned thoroughly so there is no possibility of non-organic substances contaminating the organic produce. Packaging materials, storage containers and bins that contain a synthetic fungicide, preservative or fumigant are prohibited.

A fumigant is a disinfectant made from the fumes of certain chemicals. It is used to sanitize an area or to get rid of vermin.

What is Organic?