Pest management

Which forms of pest control are allowed for my organic operation?

The USDA National Organic Program requires preventative pest management practices as a first measure in any area where organic products are handled, processed, or stored.

Commonsense pest prevention practices include:

  • Removing potential habitat and food sources for pests
  • Preventing pest access to the area where you work with organic product
  • Controlling environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, light, etc.) to stop pest reproduction

What do I do if pest prevention methods are not enough?

If prevention methods are unsuccessful, you are eligible to use certain mechanical controls, such as traps, light or sound.

What do I do if pest prevention and mechanical methods fail?

Only after pest prevention and mechanical methods fail can you look to approved materials as a means for pest control. Never use a material unless it is approved for use per the National List and/or until after OTCO review and approval.

Some examples of National List approved materials include:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrogen
  • Vitamin D3 bait
  • Boric acid
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Soap products

Under what circumstances can I use synthetic pest controls?

In rare scenarios where prevention, mechanical controls, and approved materials do not work, only then may you consider synthetic pest control methods. You will need OTCO approval prior to use.

To review your desired pest control method, we’ll need:

  • Photocopies of the product label
  • Manufacturer safety information sheet
  • Demonstration of the need for use and documentation of failed preventative, mechanical and approved material pest control methods
  • Clear plans for contamination prevention and documentation plan
  • Updates to your Organic System Plan under pest management

Send information about all of the above to your client service team for review.

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