Current Treatments

The battle against crop infestations begins in the fields and continues during storage and shipping.

In the fields there are limited options. The various pesticides aimed at various infestations have limited efficacy and they cannot deal with all threats. The amounts needed to guarantee sterilization would pollute the crop let alone the surrounding environment. There are natural pesticides but they are no better.

During storage the problem is more insidious. Even with the most careful pest control small infestations can escape inspections and grow exponentially. The lack of natural enemies and the ample supply of food provide ideal circumstances for reproduction. An unnoticed infection can lead to a complete loss in a matter of months.

In the case of pests such as insects and rodents fumigation is the most widely used method for controlling infestations. While effective it is expensive, requires a lot of human resources and time, and is damaging to the environment. More important it does not solve the problem of molds, fungi, bacteria and viruses carried in from the fields.

For molds, fungi, bacteria and viruses an arsenal of technologies is being used: organic acids, various chemicals, poison gases, drying, heat treatments and radiation. The problem is that none are fully effective, and again they are expensive, time consuming and many are damaging to the environment. Worse is the fact that the poisons used all leave residues to some extent.

In the case of organic farming most of these widely used methods are out of the question. Therefore more drastic and expensive methods must be used to preserve the harvest, such as burying them in diatomaceous earth.

Most important of all is that no treatment reduces the levels of toxins already in the crops once they are infected.