organic pears, are these rules crazy?
I just read an article in Good Fruit Grower Magazine about new rules that will make it impossible for growers of pears to use antibiotics against fire blight and maintain their organic certification.
Most commercial pear growers in CA and the humid parts of the country require the use of oxytetracycline or streptomycin to control fire blight. Production is not feasible without it in CA because of the vigorous growth of pears there. In Washington State, pears aren't so vigorous, so the use of antibiotics isn't necessary.
As far as I can determine, there is absolutely no evidence spraying fruit trees with antibiotics represent any risk to consumers, and the only reason this is being done is the guilt by association with problems of antibiotics in meat and dairy production.
The antibiotics used in meat and dairy reach us through their consumption and contribute to growing resistance of pathogenic bacteria to these useful compounds for humans.
Even the absolute ban of antibiotics in meat and dairy is highly contraversal because of cruelty to animal issues (sick animals may not be treated).
The antibiotics sprayed on pears do not reach humans in any detectible way as they are applied months before harvest.
I'm not an advocate for organic orthodoxy to begin with, but I'm curious about the reaction to these rules by those of you who are.
If I was an organic grower in Washington, I'd be looking forward to much higher profits if the rules are passed.