CORE STANDARD II: COMPOSTING AND SOIL AMENDMENTS

(Applicable unless State or Federal regulatory requirements dictate a higher or different standard or procedure for inputs.)

Tenants

  • The improper use of any input or any soil amendments that contain un-composted or improperly composted animal manure to fields which will be used for production is prohibited. 
  • The use of compost, raw manure or any soil amendment (synthetic or non-synthetic) that does not have an ingredient list, statement of identity, letter of guaranty, certificate of analysis, or other valid document, which will not be used for production.
  • The use of any soil amendment not in accordance with federal or state code, manufacturers label directions or general good agricultural practices shall not be used for agricultural production.
  • USDA Certified Organic producers are obligated to follow the NOP and their USDA certifying body. When a conflict exists with regard to the use of compost or manure between the the NOP and these rules, the NOP shall take precedent. 

Issues Bearing On the Inputs

Composting:

  • Use of valid composting practices such as those outlined in NOP 7 CFR 205.
  • Or, the use of composting practices as outlined by competent authority, i.e. federal, state, manfacturer or NOP Certifying Agent.
  • Composting records and testing which reflect proper management practices for the formulation, processing, lot numbering, storage and application of compost.
  • Verifing the time and temperature process used during the composting process to reduce, control, or eliminate the potential for human pathogens being carried in the composted materials, as applicable to regulatory requirements.
  • Compost suppliers shall have written Standard Operating Procedures to prevent cross-contamination of finished compost with raw materials through equipment, run-off, or wind, and growers shall obtain proof that these documents exist.
  • Management of equipment used for the production of compost does not cross contaminate field activities.  This may include cleaning, sanitation or inspection of equipment.
  • Manure shall not be used in any agricultural practice without the specific and written approval of the OPMA certifying body.

Inputs:

  • Management practices such as the method and time of applications, storage, source and quality of inputs, transportation and other factors bearing on the soil amendment.
  • Management practices that control, reduce or eliminate the potential of contamination to farm activities such as growing, production, storage and harvest activities.
  • Use soil amendment processes which reduce the effects of contamination.
  • Absolute non-use or storage of bio-solids in any fashion that violate federal or state code.
  • No use of raw manure or soil amendment that contain un-composted, incompletely composted or non-thermally treated animal manure to fields which will be used for lettuce and leafy green production.
  • Implementation of management plans (e.g., timing of applications, storage location, source and quality, transport, etc.) that significantly reduce the likelihood that soil amendments being used that contain human pathogens.
  • Maximize the time interval between soil amendment application and time to harvest as provided by regulatory code, manufacturers label or good agricultural practices.
  • Implement practices that control, reduce or eliminate likely contamination of lettuce/leafy green fields in close proximity to on-farm stacking of manure.
  • Use soil amendment application techniques that control, reduce or eliminate likely contamination of surface water and/or edible crops being grown in adjacent fields.
  • Segregate equipment used for soil amendment handling, preparation, distribution, applications or use effective means of equipment sanitation before subsequent use that effectively reduce the potential for cross contamination.
  • Retain documentation of all processes and test results by lot (at the supplier) and/or Certificates of Analysis available for inspection for a period of at least two years.
  • Use of good record keeping practices.

Best Practices

  • Proper application of properly processed and certified inputs.
  • Proper handling of material during all stages of production to ensure minimal cross contamination.
  • Appropriate microbiological standards are confirmed.

 Composting and Other Soil Amendments Standard 

Source

Criteria

Frequency

Target Bacteria

Records

Primary

Tier 1: ≤ 235 MPN/100mL

 

Tier 2 and 3: ≤126 MPN/100mL (Note 1)

Prior to application and with each soil amendment for Tier 2 and 3.  Tier 1, only once per season.

Fecal Coliforms: <1000 MPN/gram

Salmonella: Neg or <DL (<1/30 grams)

E.coli O157:H7: Neg or <DL (<1/30 grams)

 

Records maintained on site for a period not to exceed 3 years.


Preferred Process

Composted plant and animal materials produced though a process that:

(i) Established an initial C:N ratio of between 25:1 and 40:1 by valid laboratory test prior to application; and

(ii) Maintained a temperature of between 131°F and 170°F for 3 days using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system; or

(iii) Maintained a temperature of between 131°F and 170°F for 15 days using a windrow composting system, during which period, the materials must be turned a minimum of five times.

References:

CCR Title 14 - Chapter 3.1 - Article 7 - Section 17868.1

http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Laws/Regulations/Title14/ch31a5.htm#article7 

http://www.caleafygreens.ca.gov/food-safety-practices/

http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/

Major Non-Compliance

  • A single instance of inappropriate storage or use of bio-solids,
  • A single application of raw manure to edible portions of the crop,
  • Numerous instances of raw manure handling where the input has not been in compliance with any guideline in this or applicable standard,
  • Any application of improperly composted material,
  • Numerous incomplete, inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping records or postings.
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