CCOF, one of the oldest and largest organic certification organizations in North America, announced a modified stance on the aerial spraying treatment program for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). CCOF’s new policy position revokes support of aerial application of the organically approved pheromones in lieu of diversified ground integrated pest management approaches. The new position statement approved by CCOF’s Board of Directors is as follows:
CCOF is concerned about the impact of all pests on agriculture. In addition, we are concerned about the impacts of pest control actions on human health and the environment. As we have learned more about the ecology, chemistry, policies and politics surrounding the eradication program for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM), we question whether an eradication program can be successful, and we acknowledge that the repeated spraying of an untested material and its inert ingredients on a large populated area is not desirable. We also believe that the health impacts on people, pets and wildlife, as well as the ecological impacts on our ecosystems and watersheds, need further evaluation.
CCOF supports the use of pheromones in ground applications and other ecologically sound organic integrated pest management (IPM) approaches as far preferable to the use of dangerous organophosphates. However, CCOF does not endorse further aerial applications of pheromones in LBAM eradication efforts due to potential human health and environmental concerns.
One of the basic tenets of organic farming is to use a diversified approach to solve agricultural pest problems, with preference given to those that are the least disruptive to ecological systems. Lepidoptera pests such as the LBAM are successfully controlled on organic farms throughout California using cultural controls, natural predators, pheromone products, and proven biological insecticides. We urge the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to pursue a diverse and precautionary approach. Key to this is taking the steps necessary to alleviate the concerns of our trading partners so that the disruption of exports through embargoes and quarantines does not continue.