So…Riddle me this, Organic World
February 18, 2018
In the USA you cannot farm spirulina and achieve the USDA Certified Organic Seal yet outside countries with competing spirulina farms can. Countries such as China & India, can produce a spirulina crop, have it certified organic in their country under their organic rules and then export to the US in bulk or prepackaged in retail containers. There are companies in the USA that repack imported Spirulina and they provide foreign organic certification, which seems to meet the USDA approval and as a result receive permission to add the USDA Organic seal. In short, no USDA certified organic labeled spirulina sold in the USA was grown in the USA. What, Why, How?
Let me back up and explain the most pressing question, “Why is it not possible for United States Spirulina producers to get USDA Certified Organic approval?” In the United States “organic” is not a term that pertains to aquaculture, only agriculture. Spirulina is a micro-algae that is grown in water and…
…not considered an “agricultural crop.” In order for agricultural crops to be considered “certified organic” they need to use nutrient sources approved as organic as well as meet various pesticide standards. Organic compounds used in organic agriculture are derived from living plant or animal sources (ex: compost products, manure). The organic fertilizers do not come in direct contact with the edible portion of the plant and are therefore acceptable. In Spirulina farming, where an alga is grown in water, organic nutrients would be in direct contact with the Spirulina making contamination a possibility. This potential contamination is why we don’t use organic nutrients, only inorganic nutrients such as baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and nitrates.
Agcore does not use any pesticides, fungicides or organic ingredients made from waste and we do not grow our crop in outdoor open pond systems which are susceptible foreign matter (bird waste), pests, airborne GMOs or animals entering the pond. Agcore/SunFresh Spirulina is grown in closed, clear grow tubes inside a greenhouse that provides high product integrity.