Sanitizer materials and restrictions
There is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. And while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has shared a list of disinfectants for use against coronavirus, we understand it’s confusing to know what is allowed as a certified organic operation. Please read below for more info on what’s permitted.
Are there restrictions if my organic product doesn’t come into contact with sanitizers?
You can use any sanitizer, disinfectant, or cleaner on food contact surfaces and equipment as long as it does not leave a residue or contact organic products, adding it to your Organic System Plan.
If you use a sanitizer that leaves a residue, you must thoroughly remove (and document your process) the residue by rinsing equipment with clean water — alcohol-based sanitizers must be air dried — before running any organic products.
What materials can I use when my organic product will come into contact with sanitizers?
Any sanitizer that may contact an organic product (such as no-rinse sanitizers used on food contact surfaces, or wash water additives) must be approved for use in organic.
For sanitation practices due to COVID-19:
- COVID-19 sanitizers that are organic-approved and EPA-listed include: hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic acid, sodium hypochlorite, and hypochlorous acid; isopropanol and ethanol are approved for sanitation during post-harvest handling activities.
- You can use OMRI-listed sanitizing products, following all restrictions, immediately.
- Review the USDA’s overview of Allowed Detergents and Sanitizers for Food Contact Surfaces and Equipment in Organic Operations
- There is no documented evidence of food-based transmission of COVID-19.
We encourage you to use OMRI’s search to see updated lists of approved sanitizers, cleaners and disinfectants for your use. Please note, use of an approved product must still follow all restrictions (if any). You must notify your client service team to add the products to your inputs list.
What are the requirements for quaternary ammonium compounds (quats or QACs)?
The high lingering residual effects for quats make them efficient and effective sanitizer solutions. However, quats are prohibited from coming into contact with organic products, ingredients, or packaging. You must perform a thorough rinse or alternative acceptable intervention to remove them from surface areas and equipment prior to organic production.
Following removal, you must use a low-ion test strip to verify that no quat residue is present. Your procedures and test results must be documented. Testing does not need to be performed each time provided you maintain — and record — the necessary pressure, temperature, quantity, and timing of the rinse as found in the initial zero residue test result. However, you must periodically test the efficacy of your procedures and provide ongoing documentation that your contamination prevention process is still effective.
Note that if you use quaternary ammonium sanitizers on shared equipment prior to non-organic production you must list these in the OSP section H5.
Test strip requirements:
- Must specifically test for residual quaternary ammonium
- Must have a match point at 0 ppm
- Next highest match point must measure 10 ppm or lower (more sensitive)
- Test result must be 0ppm prior to organic production
Illustrative list of acceptable test kits:
- LaMotte, 2934 Insta-TEST Dual Range QAC Test Strips
- Micro Essential Lab QL-110 Hydrion Lo Ion Quat Test Kits
All sanitizers and cleaners are part of your Organic System Plan (OSP). If you need to make a change to your sanitation process, follow our process for adding (or removing) approved materials prior to use.