Q. I produce an all-natural granola bar, but recently noticed signs of moths in my warehoused oats. Can fumigation be used in natural-food facilities? What are my options?
A. Although FDA is looking at defining the word “natural” on food labeling, the agency does not currently have any regulations that establish a formal definition for the term, so it is left to the customer to infer what natural means. Thus, unless specifications are included in a future definition or criteria, fumigation could be performed to solve the problem—along with the service provider making recommendations to reduce future risk. However, if you are labeling the product as organic, there is USDA National Organic Program criteria in place, which limits the pesticides that can be used. So, you would need to ensure your service provider knows you are producing an organic product.
- Tom Nelson, Senior Scientist, Pest Elimination