Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2005
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Citation: Plotto, A., Narciso, J.A. 2006. Guidelines and acceptable postharvest practices for organically grown produce. HortScience. 41(2):287-291. Interpretive Summary: This manuscript goes through the USDA-National Organic Program regulations for handling and processing. The basic requirements, principles of sanitation and pest management for a processing plant which processes organic products are reviewed. The list of some of the synthetic and non-agricultural substances that can be used on fruit and fruit products is discussed. Examples are given for sanitation practices and fruit coatings.
Technical Abstract: Organic foods are produced using agricultural practices that emphasize renewable resources and conservation of soil and water. Horticultural crops are grown and processed without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, ingredients and processing aids. Crops or ingredients derived from genetic engineering, and use of ionizing radiation are prohibited in organic production. The challenge is to deliver produce that has the same safety, quality and shelf-life as conventional products, with a limited array of tools available for sanitation and postharvest treatments. Organic operators, professionals servicing the industry, as well as researchers involved in organic production practices, should be aware of all the points in the process of storing, handling and transforming horticultural crops where accidental contamination could occur, and thus compromise organic integrity. This presentation summarizes the major points of the National Organic Program for processing and handling. Suggestions of topics for postharvest research for horticultural crops are given.