In the spring issue of Terrain Magazine, the article “Compost Confidential” covered the travails of Grover—the composter that turns Berkeley’s kitchen and yard waste into rich compost that many regional organic farms used. Bifenthrin, a pesticide found in some commercial lawn fertilizers, was detected in Grover’s WonderGrow Compost, along with Nortech Gold and Clean City Compost. Triggered by this finding, the California State Organic Program prohibited organic farmers from using those composts. Meanwhile, the National Organic Program had yet to set a policy regarding traces of bifenthrin, which enters the compost stream on grass clippings from treated yards and winds up in all compost made from city green waste. The NOP has finally ruled on the issue, and Grover Wondergold is once again an allowed soil amendment for organic growers.
From Certified Organic Magazine – a publication of the California Certified Organic Farms(CCOF): “On April 19, 2010 the National Organic Program (NOP) issued a policy on the Allowance of Green Waste in Organic Production Systems. This policy largely concludes the outstanding issues that arose from the California State Organic Program (SOP) prohibition of three compost materials after finding low levels of Bifenthrin residue. On April 21, 2010 the SOP clarified that the prohibition on Nortech Gold, Grover WonderGrow, and Clean City Composts was rescinded. This announcement was mailed to all registered organic producers in California. CCOF worked diligently with the SOP and NOP to resolve this issue and performed testing of green waste materials, soils, and crops produced with the composts to aid in risk assessment. After consideration of the issues and comments from CCOF and others, the NOP clarified that green waste composts may be used as long as any unintentionally present residues do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water.”