Last week, federal agents raided Port Organic Products Ltd. in Bakersfield, CA, in an attempt to catch organic fertilizer producers who are adulterating fertilizer products with synthetic chemicals. According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, industry sources estimate Port Organic Products produces nearly half of the state’s liquid organic fertilizer.
In December, the Bee reported on an investigation that caught another large organic fertilizer maker, California Liquid Fertilizer, adding synthetic products to its Biolizer XN fertilizer. Since then, the organic industry and state officials have taken several steps to crack down on violators in California. In fact, California Certified Organic Farmers, the state’s top organic certifier, was reported to have mandated inspections of fertilizer makers that sell to its clients.
Earthbound Farm, the nation’s largest grower/shipper of organic produce, stated they were “defrauded” by the makers of Biolizer XN. In a written statement, the San Juan Bautista company, whose growers farm a total of 33,000 acres, noted that the product was endorsed as organic by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). The company said it acted quickly after learning it contained synthetic fertilizer.
“As soon as we confirmed this, we notified all growers in the Earthbound Farm network of the findings and required that they review their inputs to determine whether they may have used this particular fertilizer and to stop using it immediately if they were,” the company stated.
According to the Bee, no charges have been filed in the most recent case, but records dating back to 2005 indicate Port Organic has had thousands of gallons of aqua ammonia in its possession, which is a source of synthetic nitrogen.