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What are the allowable sources of glucono delta-lactone and how is it used in organic processing?

By Johanna Mirenda

Glucono delta-lactone is derived from gluconic acid, with numerous uses as a food processing aid. Nonsynthetic forms of glucono delta-lactone are allowed for use in organic processing in accordance with its listing at §205.605(a) of the National List. Glucono delta-lactone is produced when gluconic acid  crystallizes in water. It is then isolated by filtering or...

Is erythorbic acid allowed for use in organic processing?

By Andria Schulze

Erythorbic acid is a stereoisomer of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). While ascorbic acid is allowed as a synthetic ingredient in or on processed organic products at §205.605 in the NOP regulations, the issue of stereoisomers is not addressed in the rule. A stereoisomer is a molecule that has the same formula and sequence of bonded atoms as another, but differs in its three-dimensional orientation. For example, if your hands were molecules and your...

What are alginates? How are they used in organic food processing and handling?

By Taryn Kennedy

Alginates are polysaccharides derived from marine algae and brown seaweeds, such as kelp. Similar to the structure-forming component of cellulose in terrestrial plants, alginates give brown algae both mechanical strength and flexibility. Alginates are among a suite of polysaccharides or “seaweed gums” that are extracted by the hydrocolloid industry for use in food processing and for medical, pharmaceutical, textile and...

By Evan Thomsen

The OMRI Canada review program turned four this year, and during those four years we have seen a number of recurring reasons why OMRI might not allow products for organic production under the Canada Organic Regime (COR) regulations. There are several points of compliance that determine the allowance of input materials; some are OMRI policy, and some are mandated by the regulations in CAN/CGSB-32.310 and CAN/CGSB-32.311. Below is a list of some of the common reasons why products do not end up on the OMRI Canada...

How does OMRI evaluate GE materials for use as ingredients in processed organic food products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic ingredients”?

By Taryn Kennedy

Ingredients and processing aids that are directly produced through genetic engineering (GE) are prohibited. OMRI uses 5 criteria to evaluate whether a product is directly produced through GE and is therefore prohibited: 1) Is the product a live GE organism or a live organism derived from a GE organism? 2) Does the product contain modified DNA that will be...

I see that OMRI has multiple Generic Materials List (GML) categories for fruit coatings. Can you explain these categories? Specifically, can I use nonorganic orange shellac to process apples?

By Doug Currier

Fruit and vegetable coatings, sometimes called edible films, are applied directly to the outside of produce in order to preserve freshness and maintain quality standards often associated with appearances that consumers have come to expect. Besides orange shellac, other common materials used for these purposes...

Are GE substrates or growth media permitted in organic production under Canada Organic Regime (COR) standards?

By Shannon McCormick

Evaluating microbial growth media under the COR standards can be challenging, but OMRI reviews substrates that may be genetically engineered (GE) using a few straightforward principles. Substances produced on substrates or growth media (e.g., microorganisms and lactic acid) have additional substrate review criteria which differ depending on whether or not the substrate is fully removed...

Can wine be labeled as ‘organic’ if sulfites are added, but there are also naturally occurring sulfites in it?

By Brian Baker

Wine labeling laws are governed by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (Formerly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). There is a web page that clarifies the requirements for labeling alcoholic beverages with organic claims: https://www.ttb.gov/alfd/alfd_organic.shtml. Wines that have organic claims on the label...

What should I look for in a compliant pectin?

By Doug Currier

Pectin, the gelling agent that provides us with jams and marmalades, has appeared on the National List in different places over the years. In the past, pectin (low-methoxy) was listed as an allowed synthetic, nonagricultural ingredient at §205.605(b) while pectin (high-methoxy) was listed at §205.606. In response to a petition filed in 2005, the NOSB Handling Committee recommended in October 2010 that pectin (low methoxy) be removed from §205.605(b) and the...

Would use of X-rays to detect foreign bodies in a plant constitute irradiation?

By Brian Baker

While X-rays create radiation, the levels used to detect foreign bodies in food are not considered 'ionizing radiation' as defined in the organic standards. Ionizing radiation used as a food preservation technique often involves the use of relatively high doses of gamma- and beta-rays from radioactive isotopes or electron beams. X-rays are also a form of ionizing radiation used to treat food and can be dangerous to work with...