The organic citrus industry in Australia is breathing a sigh of relief after Australian Certified Organic (ACO), which represents the majority of certified organic operations in Australia, announced that organic citrus now has the ability to retain its organic status despite recent strict regulations brought in to control Canker.

Organic citrus growers have been forced to forgo selling their produce as organic for around two months after the highly contagious bacterial disease, Canker, was identified on a Queensland property in early July this year.

Part of the stringent requirements brought in to control the disease included a mandatory chemically charged post harvest treatment for citrus. Given the rare nature of the outbreak, there were no chemical sanitisers allowed for organic citrus producers to treat their fruit without compromising their organic status.

Now however, a previously restricted product, Peracetic Acid, has been given interim approval by the organic industry regulator, Australian Inspection and Quarantine Service (AQIS), for the control of citrus canker in organic systems.

"This is a real breakthrough for organic and conventional producers alike," said Catriona Mills, managing director of Australian Certified Organic.