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Crop Care

Formulating for organic production

Choosing ingredients that are suitable for use in organic production is often complicated as factors to consider include not only where a formulation is to be used but also where the produce (crop) and subsequent processed food products are to be sold.

The word ‘organic’ is a general term to describe food (and other products) produced and processed according to prescribed principles.

For crop production, these typically include:

  • Maintaining a high level of biological diversity
  • Responsible use of energy and natural resources
  • Use of mechanical and natural biological production methods
  • Restrictions on use of external inputs

In organic farming, there are strict restrictions on which agrochemicals farmers can apply to their fields. The consequences of farmers using inappropriate inputs may include loss of organic status of produce and of land for an extended period. Therefore, it is imperative that agrochemicals that are marketed for organic use abide to the relevant regulations. This can make formulating a pesticide (or other products) for organic use challenging as the toolbox of products available can be limited and understanding the applicable regulations can be confusing.

View OMRI Listed products

USDA NOP* Reference Guide

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Neil Stainton, our Insights Marketing Manager, offers some advice about formulating for organic use:

"Organic standards can vary between countries according to specific regulations. Therefore, it is essential to understand which organic regulation you need to adhere to before you start developing a formulation that is intended for organic use."

Inert ingredients for organic production
Many products in our portfolio are suitable for use in organic production.

In the European Union, all co-formulants (i.e. ‘inert’ ingredients) used in conventional (non-organic) farming are suitable for use in plant protection products for use in organic production in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/848. However, certain countries may have more stringent requirements. Always check the specific country regulation before using any ingredients.

In the US, inert ingredients for organic production must adhere to USDA NOP regulations. This currently allows inert ingredients which appear on the EPA List 4A and List 4B to be used in plant protection products for organic production. To assist you in choosing inert ingredients approved for use in organic production in the US, Croda has created a reference guide of suitable products.

To make organic certification of your formulations easier, a selection of Croda inert ingredients have been OMRI Listed. ‘OMRI Listed’ certificates are available for these products on request. If you are interested in OMRI Listing for other products, please get in touch to discuss the possibilities.

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Terminology and useful links

  • USDA - United States Department of Agriculture
  • NOP - National Organic Program
  • EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • List 4A - A list of inert pesticide ingredients that the EPA class as Minimal Risk Inert Ingredients
  • List 4B - Ingredients for which EPA has sufficient information to reasonably conclude that the current use pattern in pesticide products will not adversely affect the public health or the environment
  • OMRI - Organic Materials Review Institute


Are you formulating for organic production?