Seaweed farmers seen benefiting from USDA decision
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that Filipino seaweed farmers can benefit from the decision of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow use of carrageenan in organic farming and livestock production.
Piñol, citing a report from Washington-based Agriculture Attache Josyline C. Javellosa, said the USDA has officially announced the renewal of carrageenan as among the “allowed substances” in its National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) regulated by the USDA National Organic Program.
The substances in the National List are used in organic crop and livestock production and organic handling/processing.
“US’ Organic standards allow most natural substances in organic farming while prohibiting most synthetic substances. The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances—part of the USDA organic regulations—lists the exceptions to this basic rule, as well as the non-organic substances allowed in processed organic products,” the report said.
Specifically, carrageenan is listed as a nonagricultural (non-organic) substance allowed as ingredient of processed products labeled as “organic” or made with organic specified ingredients or food groups.
Other non-synthetics in this category that have been allowed/renewed are agar-agar, animal enzymes, calcium sulfate, glucono delta-lactone and tartaric acid.
For his part, Piñol emphasized that over the past 5 years, the value of Philippine carrageenan exports to the US catering to both the organic and non-organic markets was as follows: 2013 – $36.8 million; 2014- $43.2 million; 2015 – $44.2 million; 2016 – $32.7 million; 2017 – $28.1 million.