Your Health

Organic Apple and Pear Orchards Will Be Antibiotic-Free By 2014

Most people don’t know that the organic apple or pear they bought at the grocery store was sprayed with the antibiotic Tetracycline. Used to treat Fire Blight, which blackens the leaves of apple and

Apple tree with Fire Blight

Photo: Paethon/Wikipedia. Apple tree with Fire Blight.

pear trees and can ruin an entire orchard in one season, tetracycline’s use will not be allowed after October, 2014.

Fire Blight Will Have To Be Fought With Antibiotic-Free Alternative

In his article on Take Part Willy Blackmore talks about The National Organic Board’s decision and the dilemma it poses for organics apple and pear farmers since there’s no proven alternative for fighting Fire Blight.

When we reported on the use of antibiotics to control disease in organic pear and apple orchards this week, the information that shocked readers the most wasn’t the news itself. Even though the USDA’s National Organic Program has approved tetracycline since 2000, consumers were largely unaware of the practice.

With the debate over the use being reported here and elsewhere this week, there’s an increased literacy among informed buyers, but that knowledge will have a short shelf life. That’s because of the new news from Tuesday’s story: The National Organic Standards Board met in Portland this week, and the group decided not to extended the exemption that growers and scientists had lobbied for. Certified organic growers won’t be allowed to use the antibiotics to control fire blight after October 21, 2014.

Farmers will have roughly a year to implement the use of Blossom Protect, the only potential substitute to prevent Fire Blight.

Read the full story here and sign the Take Part petition to “Prohibit the Use of Antibiotics In Animal Food Production“.

About Laura

Laura is passionate about food from real farmers and artisans. She lives with her husband in Grand Rapids on the river. Sometimes it flows over, but mostly she is greeted by the ducks, geese and her neighbor's chickens. They like to hop up on her windowsill and eat the spiders. Yay! She is the co-founder of Two Sister Organics, a natural and organic skin care company, and Eating Local & Organic.

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