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Compost Tea Safety
The suggestion by Douglas to incorporate HACCP into the production of compost tea would be a step in the right direction, but may not be the ultimate answer. There are significant differences between the theory and practice of HACCP. If HACCP is applied and limited to the boundaries of a production facility, the system may or may not work. The HACCP system works best if it is implemented throughout the food chain. Meat processors have HACCP programs but their suppliers (feedlots) may not. As a consequence, the quality and microbial contamination of the incoming materials to the meat processing plant may be very variable. Unless there is a kill step for pathogens (and even then), the output from the plant will be dependent on the quality of the incoming materials and the effectiveness of the meat plant's HACCP program. In short, I am suggesting that we must more closely scrutinize the sources and quality of materials used tWe focus primarily on the methods used for producing compost teas. I think that there should be an equal focus on the raw materials used for producing compost teas. The methods that were used to produce the raw materials used for making compost and compost teas must be scrutinized. I do not think that it is possible to create composting and compost tea production systems that can accommodate an infinite variability in the raw material quality. In short, the HACCP concept may be useful, but only if it is applied from one end to the other of the food production system. One of the problems that we will face with this concept is that we may find a chicken and egg scenario. In a predominantly non-organic food production system, it may be difficult to find sufficient quantities of suitable materials to process for organic farming inputs, especially for large scale organic farms.
Alan Ismond, P.Eng.