Statewide Quarantine Issued for Organic Fertilizer Product

Brian German Agri-Business, Industry

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently issued a statewide quarantine for the organic fertilizer product Agro Gold WS. A Stop Use notice was announced on December 4 by CDFA’s Fertilizing Materials Inspection Program (FMIP) and State Organic Program (SOP).  CDFA analysis found the presence of Diquat and Glyphosate in the product. The notice states that “Sale and use of this product thus poses a public health risk because the product was found to contain herbicides not disclosed on its label.”

Organic Fertilizer Product

Diquat and Glyphosate are prohibited for use in organic production by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program. California producers are being warned that continued use of the product on registered organic land could jeopardize an operation’s organic status. The organic fertilizer product Agro Gold WS has been co-boxed and distributed with Weed Slayer, an organic herbicide.

Registered organic growers who may have the material are being instructed to hold the product and contact FMIP. Officials will assist with how operations need to handle the material. Producers who use the organic fertilizer product will likely need to update their Organic System Plans (OSP) to denote its discontinued use. Any direct OSP or compliance questions can be answered by a grower’s accredited certifier. Conventional growers are also being advised to head the Stop Use notice. The revelation that Agro Gold WS contains Diquat and Glyphosate will require additional follow up. Growers will need to be mindful of what restrictions may apply to applications of those two materials.

After an initial complaint about the product was received by CDFA, staff members collected a variety of samples from multiple locations. The lab analysis was conducted in CDFA’s Center for Analytical Chemistry. CDFA will be working with other state and federal authorities in an ongoing investigation into the matter. FMIP will also continue routine sampling, inspections, and enforcement actions.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West