Archived Content

The content on this page is provided for reference purposes only. This content has not been altered or updated since it was archived.


Strategic Approach to Safe Use of Biological Soil Amendments

< < Proposed Produce Safety Rule Main Page

Raw Manure
(and other untreated biological soil amendments of animal origin)

FDA is deferring a decision on the appropriate time interval between the application of raw manure and the harvesting of crops until it takes these steps:

FDA’s Michael Mahovic, right, with scientists Manan Sharma, left, and Patricia Millner

Caption: FDA’s Michael Mahovic, right, with scientists Manan Sharma, left, and Patricia Millner, researchers at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They are measuring the temperature of compost at ARS’s research facility in Beltsville, MD. (Photo by Peggy Greb, ARS/USDA)

  • Analyze information sought in the proposed supplemental rule on produce safety, including:
    • Scientific research on the persistence of disease-causing bacteria in raw manure
    • Procedures for bacterial testing of manure and the reliability of such methods
    • Nitrogen availability
    • Costs of various alternative fertilizer options
    • Prevalence of raw manure use, including on small farms
    • Information on barriers to the transition from use of raw manure to use of compost
  • Develop a risk assessment, considering these variables:
    • Manure type
    • Application method
    • Climatic conditions
    • Produce commodities
    • Soil type
  • Support  extensive research to address knowledge gaps, including
    • Collecting data on current practices
    • Studying risk-reduction practices
    • Collaborating with U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners.


Concurrently, FDA is preparing to promote the use of compost, which is safer and more environmentally sustainable than raw manure, by working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other partners to:

  • Determine barriers to the increased usage of compost
  • Educate growers on the benefits of compost, including improved safety (compared to raw manure), nutrient management, sustainability and other positive environmental attributes
  • Establish the resource demands and practicality of transitioning from raw manure to compost use
  • Learn how to expand grower capacity for composting
  • Facilitate the establishment of regional composting facilities

For additional information, see What Is FDA Doing to Promote the Safe Use of Manure and Compost on Crops? Questions and Answers with Michael Mahovic.

Page Last Updated: 11/13/2015
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.
Language Assistance Available: Español | 繁體中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Русский | العربية | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | 日本語 | فارسی | English