AND MARKETING NEWSLETTER
Editor: J. J. Ferguson
Horticultural Sciences Department
University of Florida
PO Box 110690
Gainesville, FL 32611-0690
USDA Release List of Accredited Organic Certifying Agencies
The USDA released a list of twenty-eight domestic agencies, ten state agencies, and four overseas agents
accredited to certify organic growers. This list is the first round in the USDA's plan to list all qualified
organic production and handling operations certified to use the USDA seal by Oct. 21, 2002.
The following entities have been accredited, but must complete a successful site audit, or meet other
specified conditions within 120 days:
California Certified Organic Farmers
California Organic Farmers Association
Fertilizer & Seed Certification Svcs (South Carolina)
Georgia Crop Improvement Association
Global Organic Alliance (Ohio)
Guaranteed Organic Certification Agency (California)
Hawaii Organic Farmers Association
Indiana Certified Organic
Integrity Certified International (Nebraska)
International Certification Services, Inc (North Dakota)
Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture Institute (Iowa)
Marin County (California)
Midwest Organic Services Association (Wisconsin)
Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Monterey County Certified Organic (California)
NOFAC Massachusetts [Northeast Organic Farming Association]
NOFAC New Jersey
NOFAC New York Limited Liability Corp
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Organic Certifiers (California)
Organic Crop Improvement Association (Nebraska)
Organic Forum International (Minnesota)
Pennsylvania Certified Organic
Quality Assurance International (California)
Quality Certification Services (Florida)
Scientific Certification Systems (California)
Stellar Certification Services (New York)
Idaho Department of Agriculture
Iowa Department of Agriculture
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Montana Department of Agriculture
New Hampshire Department of Agriculture
New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission
Texas Department of Agriculture
Utah Department of Agriculture
Virginia Department of Agriculture
Washington State Department of Agriculture
BCSCOkeo Garantie Gmbh (Germany)
Canadian Organic Certification Cooperative, Ltd
ECOCERT (France and Germany)
Enhancing the Economic and environmental Competitiveness of Small Farms through Agroforestry, Shibu
Jose, Univ. Of Florida, $189,600.
A Systems Approach for Improved Integration of Green Manure in Commercial Vegetable Production
systems, Johan Scholberg, Univ. Florida, $171,840.
Developing a System to Produce Organic Plug Transplants for Organic Strawberry Production, D. J.
Cantliffe/Ashwin V. Paranipe, Univ. Florida, $9,500. Dan Cantliffe is the chair of the Horticultural Sciences
Department, Univ. Fl. Gainesville.
Chemical Ecology of Microtheca ochroloma .Mickie SwisherlKristen Bowens, Univ. Florida, $3,057. The
yellow-margined leaf beetle, Microtheca ochroloma, is a small beetle that infests turnip and mustard,
especially at field margins.
Ultraviolet Light Absorbing Films and Nets for Insect and Disease Control in an Organic Greenhouse, Jim
Gibbons, FI. $8,010
Test Marketing of New Label in Southwest Florida for USA Grown/Living Wage Produce. Richard J. Nogaj
(harvest for Humanity, Inc.,) FI. $5,200.
Deadlines for each of these areas are listed on page 7. I would call your attention to the Producer Grant
Projects due Jan. 24. If you have a project in mind or an idea you would like to test, speak with your county
agent or someone at your local research center to develop a project.
Less than 5% of California's avocados are organically grown but companies like Eco-Farm, Temecula and
Cavalo Growers, Santa Ana, California, think the market is growing. However organic avocados may not be
as popular as tomatoes or leaf lettuce that can be eaten whole without being peeled like avocados. Packing
house procedures, involving washing and waxing fruit, also have to be adjusted when running organic
versus conventional fruit. Another California firm, Fresh Directions International, ships organic avocados
out of Mexico but stressed the inelastic demand for organic fruit and the need to manage supply so that
markets are not glutted, negatively affecting price.
Organic avocados are grown in Florida. primarily in the Homestead area by Dirnberger Farms, Inc., Pikarco,
and Paradise Farms, among others. (J. Ferguson).
Twenty-five percent of Wisconsin's potato growers producing about 7% of Wisconsin's potato crop in Oct.,
2001. participate in the "Healthy Grown" program, producing mostly red and white potatoes targeted for
professional women 25-55 living in larger cities or college towns on the US East Coast. Estimates are that
retail prices for Healthy Grown Potatoes will probably be about 10% higher for a 10-pound bag.
Produce is certified by an agency called Protected Harvest, whose standards include restricting 11 targeted
pesticides and restricting other pesticides. The Program is a collaborative, biointensive IPM effort (large-
scale, reduced pesticide agriculture) that includes the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
(WPVGA), the University of Wisconsin, and the World Wildlife fund, whose logo will appear on the label.
WPVGA consists of 175 grower members and funds from $300 to $350,000/year on research.
Protected Harvest is not an organic program, which includes about 1% of US food production, but rather
focuses on the 10 to 20% of the best grower and their lands to achieve a significant impact on protecting
the environment and provide an economic return to a significant number of farmers. Scientific Certification
Systems, Oakland California, completes audits of participating growers. Scientific Certification Systems
(SCS) is a neutral, third-party testing and certification organization evaluating a wide variety of food safety
and environmental claims. For further information, go to their web site at http://www.scsl.comlindex.shtml.
The Protected Harvest website is http:llwww.protectedharvest.org/indexl.htm or do a search for Protected
Although "Protected Harvest" certification and standards apparently allow the use of some synthetic
pesticides and are not the same as USDA organic farming certification and standards, this "Protected
Harvest" concept may appeal more to conventional growers than the more stringent organic farming
standards. Market niches and publicity may also be less for "Protected Harvest" produce than for USDA
certified organic produce. Protected Harvest is currently reviewing plans to certify Florida tomatoes and
other products. I plan to follow up on this concept for Florida fruit and vegetable crops and will keep you
updated. (J. Ferguson)
"GORP...A Genetically Engineered Fish...a revised novel by John Irving The World According to
GORP...no, only Good Organic Retail Practices)
Speaking at the Oct. 29, 2001 Produce Marketing Association convention on "The New Organic Standards:
Challenges for Retail," Phil Margolis, organic foods distributor and officer of the Organic Trade Association
(OTA), said that retailers need to think "GORP," short for Good Organic Retail Practices. This would include:
1) Don't co-mingle organic and nonorganic produce
2) Prevent organic produce from coming into contact with prohibited substances, such
as fungicides, fumigants, and preservatives.
3) Don't use or reuse containers that compromise organic integrity
4) Pay attention to organic control points (places in the marketing chain where organic
integrity can be lost, like separating organic from nonorganic produce to avoiding drip
5) Organic produce signage
Another speaker commented that most warehouses are not ready to handle organic produce under the new
federal rules that will go into effect Oct. 21, 2001. Retailers will have to deal with warehouse practices,
storage, separation of produce, cleanliness, separate facilities for preparation and proper safeguards for
handling, cleaning, sanitation and display. Cashiers will also need training so they won't mix organic and
nonorganic produce (presumably when they bag purchases?). In another article in the same issue of The
Packer, entitled "Cashiers Can Help Allay Public's Biotechnology Fears," the director of the Washington-
based Council for Biotechnology Information said that retailers need to educate produce managers and
cashiers about biotechnology so they can answer consumer questions.
Speakers said that regulators will be looking to see if retailers have processes in place rather than minor
infractions but violations could result in fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
The Organic Trade Association has a 300-page manual covering good organic retail practices, available to
OTA members for $100 and nonmembers at a higher price and seminars on this topic. For the OTA website
go to http://www.ota.com.
(I plan to obtain a copy of this manual for reference purposes and possible extension programs. J.
David Schmidt, associated with the Council sponsoring the above survey said "...74% of respondents said
they had read or heard about biotechnology, yet only 1% said they would like to see labels with information
on genetically altered products placed on food items." Tim Hammonds, president of the Food Marketing
Institute, said that European retailers may have a different attitude towards gmos because small farms are
more common in Europe than in the US. Europe does not have a broad governing body like the Food and
Drug Administration. In another development, the British Parliament is considering a proposal requiring all
GMO products to be labeled by 2003.
and was last updated on May 6, 2002.
Consumer expectations about biotechnology
Consumer Expectation (%)
Improved quality, taste, variety 30
Enhanced safety 10
Reduced price 8
Improved crop yields 8
Don't Know 23
A survey entitled "U.S. Consumer Attitudes Toward Food
Biotechnology" by the International Food Information
Council, Washington D. C. Sept., 2001
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