The USDA established the National Organic Program (NOP) to regulate and standardize organic labeled products. The NOP is in charge of administering and enforcing the regulatory framework for national organic standards. All elements of food production, processing, transportation, and sale are regulated by the NOP rules. This blog post discusses National Organic Program (NOP) regulations regarding the use of ozone.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service administers the National Organic Program, a federal statute that governs organic food production, processing, and sale (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522). The NOP is regulated by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which published final rules implementing the program on December 21, 2000 (65 FR 80548), and went into effect on October 21 of the same year.

The AMS regulates national standards for the production, handling, and labeling of organically produced agricultural commodities through these laws. The USDA’s organic rules have been modified numerous times since their inception, with the most recent modifications occurring in 7 CFR 205.601-205.606.

National Organic Program and Ozone

Organic food items are becoming more popular all around the world. Concerns about potentially hazardous chemicals, hormones and other artificial ingredients rise as concerns about potentially negative effects of technology on our health improve. Organic foods are produced without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. This implies the food you’re eating is more natural and devoid of synthetic chemicals.

There are three levels of organic foods:

  • Organic — Products with at least 95% organic ingredients
  • Made with Organic Ingredients — Products containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients
  • 100% Organic — Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods

Ozone in Crop Production

Ozone can be utilized in the cultivation of plants. In crop production, ozone is considered a manufactured substance and is therefore regulated. Ozonation systems are the only exception; they are allowed to be cleaned with ozonation. All crops will continue to have an 100% organic certification if ozonated irrigation water is used in this manner. USDA wording from CFR 205.601: Synthetic materials may be used in organic crop cultivation according to SS 205.601.

Synthetic substances, in accordance with limitations set forth in this section, may be used in organic crop production. Such chemicals should not pollute crops, soil, or water.

Ozone gas can be used as an irrigation system cleaner. (USDA Extract:  CFR 205.601)