California Liquid Fertilizer has been spiking its fertilizer with ammonium sulfate for the last several years, affecting the organic status of many farms, including organic behemoth Earthbound Farms.
It’s a pretty epic story. The revelation that the fertilizer merchant (feel free to suggest better terms in the comments) was using non-kosher ingredients came from a former employee, who alleged that the company has been using ammonium sulfate since 1999. Inspectors confirmed the taint in 2005, even intercepting train cars of ammonium sulfate, but the California government didn’t take action for several months, as the E. Coli in spinach outbreak consumed attention. In 2007, another organic fertilizer pulled its fertilizer, and another similar announcement is apparently coming soon.
Synthetic fertilizers were substituted because they cost less than 5% of the price of organic fertilizers. Yes, substituting a cheap ingredient for the more expensive, labeled ingredient usually goes over well.
Organic Farms Unknowingly Used A Synthetic Fertilizer [Sacramento Bee]
(Photo: What Rhymes with Nicole)