What are the rules for pesticide use on organic farms?

Pesticide regulation According to organic regulations, only naturally occurring pesticides and a small amount of low-toxic synthetic ingredients, such as boric acid, can be used. The inert ingredients in these products must be approved for organic production. Sorry, the page you are looking for cannot be found. You can use the menu above to find the information you are looking for.

Contrary to popular belief, organic agriculture uses pesticides. More than one hundred fertilizers and inputs (pesticides, insecticides or fungicides) are authorized by organic agriculture regulations in Europe and the United States. Many families choose organic products to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals. Organic foods aren't necessarily pesticide-free.

Pesticides that are allowed for organic food production are not usually artificial. They usually have natural substances such as soaps, lime sulphur and hydrogen peroxide as ingredients. Not all natural substances are allowed in organic agriculture; some chemicals such as arsenic, strychnine and tobacco dust (nicotine sulfate) are prohibited. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which monitors residues in food, found that the samples tested rarely exceeded the limits of pesticides and other chemicals, which according to the EPA are calculated based on “reasonable certainty that they are not harmful.” The Rodale Institute is growing the organic movement through research, farmer training and consumer education.

This shows that even a so-called “natural” pesticide can have adverse effects on the environment and health, depending on the doses used or the context. Only when all other methods have been exhausted and the farmer faces a possible significant loss will specific pesticide sprays approved as organic be used. Sometimes, biological pesticides have a less precise and less effective action than equivalent chemical pesticides. In general, products from organic agriculture are slightly better than conventional agricultural products when it comes to pesticide residues.

As demonstrated by the example of copper sulfate, a biological pesticide can very well have a negative impact on ecosystems and pose risks to aquatic organisms. In other words, pesticides allowed in organic farming, even if they are of natural origin, can be dangerous. As a result, higher quantities need to be used to obtain the same result, which can have a negative impact on other organisms or other components of the ecosystem. A study by the University of Guelph has also shown that, in some cases, the use of “natural” or “organic” pesticides can be more harmful to the environment than the use of synthetic pesticides.

When pests become a more serious problem, organic farmers can use natural pheromones to interrupt pest mating cycles or mechanical controls, such as capture. According to a report by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 98.7% of organic products did not exceed the legal limits of pesticide residues, compared to only 96.2% of conventional products. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're safer than synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture.

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