OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on Dec. 16 issued a statewide Stop Sale, Use and Removal Order for “Agro Gold WS,” a product sold for use in organic agriculture but found to contain active pesticide ingredients. Any organic operation that continues to use the product risks losing its organic certification.
Agro Gold WS is labeled as an organic biological soil amendment, meaning it was approved for use in organic agriculture production. Normally, it is sold with the herbicide Weed Slayer, which is registered for use in Washington state. As a soil amendment, Agro Gold WS does not have to be registered for distribution or use in Washington, but because it was found to contain pesticide ingredients that were not listed on its label, WSDA considers it a misbranded, unregistered pesticide.
The order WSDA issued on Dec. 16, 2020 requires that all distribution, promotion, sales and use of Agro Gold WS in Washington must cease immediately. The order also requires the product be removed from all visible or accessible public locations.
The manufacturer, Agro Research International, is required to submit a plan to WSDA on their disposal instructions for dealers, distributors and retailers who may still hold some of the product. Dealers, distributors and retailers are advised to await further guidance as to any quantities they have in stock. WSDA advises any operations, organic or conventional, that have been using Agro Gold WS to contact their supplier for options on returning partially used or unopened product.
WSDA’s Pesticide Compliance Program and Organic Program both tested separate samples of Agro Gold WS using two different laboratories. The pesticide active ingredients of diquat and glyphosate were detected in both samples. Diquat and glyphosate are herbicide active ingredients used for non-selective vegetation control.
Both the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also found these pesticide ingredients in Agro Gold WS and have issued similar notices to stop sales of the product.
The Organic Program issued an organic input registration to Agro Research International, which listed Agro Gold WS and Weed Slayer as products approved for use in organic agriculture. As of Dec. 1, 2020, the organic input registration for Agro Research has expired and these products are no longer approved for use in organic agriculture by WSDA’s Organic Program.
For more information regarding the WSDA Pesticide Compliance Stop Sale, Use and Removal Order, contact Scott Nielsen in the WSDA Pesticide Compliance program at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 990-6518.
— Washington State Department of Agriculture
For more articles out of Washington, click here.