New USDA Rule Requires Periodic Residue Testing by Organic Certifying Agents
On November 8, 2012, the USDA Agriculture Market Services (AMS) notified the public that the National Organic Program (NOP) published a final rule that requires accredited certifying agents for periodic residue testing.
This testing is to be performed annually. Laboratories performing the testing are to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005. Other testing can be performed such as arsenic and other metal contaminants, genetic modified organisms, antibiotics and hormones which would count as part of the 5% of operations testing requirement.
A specific sampling program procedure has been developed. The specific prohibited pesticides are listed in the program documentation. Draft guidance was developed to explain what must happen based on the results of the testing.
The reason the USDA AMS NOP published this final rule is because during a review from 2010 to 2011 of organic products for pesticide residues they found 21 out of 571 items sampled to have pesticides levels in excess of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum residue limits for the residue of the food tested.
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