Soil Amendments
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Soil Amendments

Soil amendment means any chemical,
biological, or physical material (Such as mineral fertilizers, stabilized compost,
manure, non fecal animal by-products, peat moss, perlite, pre-consumer vegetative
waste, sewage sludge biosolids, table waste, agricultural tea and yard
trimmings) intentionally added to the soil to improve the chemical or physical
condition of soil in relation to plant growth or to improve the capacity of the
soil to hold water. Whenever you use soil amendments in the
farm it’s important to consider the types of soil amendments used and
understand the risks they may pose to the produce that is being grown.
Biological soil amendments means any soil amendment containing biological
materials such as stabilized compost, manure, animal by-products, peat moss,
vegetative waste, biosolids, table waste, agricultural tea, or yard trimmings, alone
or in combination. Biological soil amendments of animal origin are highest
at risk for produce contamination if improperly used. The FSMA produce safety
rule only covers biological soil amendments of animal origin. Biological
soil amendment of animal origin consists, in whole or in part, of materials of
animal origin, such as manure or non- fecal animal byproducts including animal
mortalities such as blood meal, bone meal, feather meal or fish emulsions or table
waste, alone or in combination. This category does not include any form of
human waste. Human waste is prohibited for use on produce crops, unless it meets
the EPA regulation for biosolids. In the regulation, biological soil amendments of
animal origin are divided into two types, treated or untreated. The produce safety
rule defines a treated soil amendment as having been processed to completion to
reduce microorganisms of concern. This can be achieved by using a
scientifically valid controlled physical process for example thermal, chemical process for example high alkaline pH, biological process, such as composting or
a combination of controlled physical, chemical and/or biological
processes, that have been scientifically validated to satisfy the microbial
standard for Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella species and E. coli
O157:H7; or the microbial standard for Salmonella species and fecal
coliforms. In the case of agricultural tea, the biological materials used to make
the tea need to have been processed and the water can’t have detectable generic
E.coli per 100 mL water. Untreated biological soil amendment of
animal origin are those that: Have not been processed to completion in
accordance with the previous table, or in the case of agricultural tea, the
biological materials have not been processed or the water used to make the
tea is untreated surface water, or has detectable generic E.coli in 100
mL of water. Have become contaminated after their treatment. Have
become recombined with an untreated biological soil amendment of animal
origin. Is or contains a component of untreated waste that you know or have
reason to believe is contaminated with a hazard or has been associated with
foodborne illness. Is an agricultural tea that contains an agricultural tea
additives such as molasses, yeast extract, or algal powder added in order to
increase microbial biomass. Keep in mind that all biological soil amendments of
animal origin, including mortality composting, must meet the microbial
standards in the rule (Sections 112.55(a) and (b)) or they must be considered
untreated. Assess the risks from the soil amendments being used in your farm. Lower
your food safety risks by properly managing the soil amendments you use.
Always keep in mind the type of crop where you will apply the amendment,
review the application method and timing of application. Thank you for watching
this video please follow us at This program was developed by Food Safety CTS, LLC for Penn State University.

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