Commingling and contamination on farms

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) requires that you must develop practices and systems to prevent organic products from contacting non-organic products and coming into contact with prohibited substances.

Commingling is defined as the contact of organic products with non-organic products; contamination is when organic products come in contact with prohibited substances.

How do I assess potential contamination risk areas on my farm?

It’s critical to examine your operation’s practices to identify needs for practices and procedures to prevent contamination and commingling issues.

There are several scenarios that you might flag as a risk area for commingling or contamination of your crops. In particular, split operations that handle both organic and non-organic crops are generally at much higher risk. A few sample processes that would be a red flag for an inspector and certifier can include, but are not limited to:

  • Co-storing organic and conventional crops in the same space
  • Reusing containers that store both organic and non-organic crops
  • Custom hire or contract harvesting, seeding, input application, etc.
  • Storing or applying prohibited materials on or near your operation
  • Using equipment on both organic and non-organic land or crops

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