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Re: Compost Tea and Organics
For once I may disagree with you. I am not too fond of HACCP since the way it acts, it
makes impossible all kind of traditional ways of foodmaking and just favours large
industries. Besides, I do not see a real need. Does the overview by Dr. Ingham not give
sufficient overview of when there is a risk? Her analysis seems to be "haccp" enough to
On 13 Nov 2002 at 12:43, Douglas Hinds wrote:
Hello Chuck & other saneters following this thread,
In relation to Chuck's post of Wednesday, November 13, 2002:
I will be brief. I agree with everything he said, yet suggest a
While the concerns he mentioned are real, this particular issue
(food safety in relation to organic food grown using compost teas)
can and should be resolved by putting a fully operative HACCP system
in place. (HACCP = Hazard Analysis via Critical Control Points).
The presence of a HACCP system should resolve the issue and be taken
into account by those responsible for the NOSB & NOP.
Incidentally, I learned about HACCP from materials sent to me by
Charles Benbrook in 1989, when he was head of the Board on
Agriculture of the National Research Council. The book: "An
Evaluation of the Role of Microbiological Criteria for Foods And
Food Ingredients" (National Academy Press) was one of those sent
(others were related to animal health and disease, as well as food
products of an animal origin). HACCP systems for fruit and
vegetables do exist however.
Designing a functional HACCP for this issue could begin right here.
Does anyone else agree?
CB> ... there is much more to learn re how to assure compost safety
CB> and ... the U.S., for certain, has underinvested in this
CB> promising technology.
CB> ... the unresolved scientific and food safety issues surrounding
CB> compost, and especially compost tea, pose a major challenge for
CB> not just the sustainable ag/organic community, but also for
CB> FDA/USDA and practising soil microbiologists. ...I have had a
CB> chance to discuss the recent work of the compost tea task force
CB> with some of its members and am concerned by the degree to which
CB> the work of the task force has come under attack, from a variety
CB> of quarters.
CB> We all know that some of the most strident enemies of organic
CB> agriculture have latched onto compost safety as an Achilles Heel
CB> of organic farming and that they will misrepresent the views of
CB> scientists, government agencies, the local bartender to make
CB> their point and raise concerns. Of course they will also fully
CB> exploit any disagreements within the organic community, a
CB> process now under way.
CB> The NOP/USDA, and the compost task force, have to be cautious
CB> and deliberate in moving ahead, and indeed their recent report
CB> and decisions could be regarded as consistent with the
CB> precautionary principle. There must be a very firm foundation
CB> if/when NOP/USDA endorses/permits applications of compost tea
CB> under circumstances that might, even very occassionally, result
CB> in a heightened risk of E. coli contamination.
CB> Anyone who believes that technology and processes now exist, or
CB> can readily be developed, that would assure food safety
CB> following applications of compost tea should take their case,
CB> and data, to the task force and other technical advisory bodies.
CB> But as we muddle toward concensus, the conclusions of these
CB> bodies must be accepted, even when some among us feel they are
CB> Constructive responses in the face of misguided technical
CB> advisory body conclusions is to assure that the committees in
CB> the future are composed of open-minded people lacking conflicts
CB> of interest; are given the background and data needed to
CB> understand the issues they have been asked to review; and to
CB> package/present data and information before the committees in
CB> clear and compelling ways.
CB> The way the organic community deals with potential compost food
CB> safety challenges will be among the decisive issues shaping
CB> consumer attitudes and interest in seeking out organic food. I
CB> hope everyone with scientific/technical skills and experience on
CB> these issues will find a way to work cooperatively and together
CB> to assure that the pursuit of the disease control and agronomic
CB> benefits of compost is carried out with a degree of patience,
CB> caution, and humility, recognizing that there is much we do not
CB> know and many lessons yet to be learned about the practical
CB> control and application of these technologies in the real world.
CB> Chuck Benbrook