Vanilla is an organic product by definition, fertilizers are not used in countries such as Madagascar. Nevertheless, the word Organic vanilla cannot be used without a certification from a recognized organization.
Organic vanilla : 2014-2015 market
Since the end of 2014, Organic vanilla is complicated to supply. Indeed, most or exporters of Madagascan Organic vanilla could not get the Organic certification on their whole 2014 organic production.
Indeed, pesticides analysis made by Ecocert on vanilla beans revealed a high rate of permethrin, which is a toxic product. This rate was over 0,02mg according the European norm of, and over 0 according American norms.
Vanilla exporters have been requested to audit and find the causes of the presence of the toxic product in the vanilla.
Further investigation, it has been revealed that the World Health Organization (WHO) in Madagascar has distributed to farmers mosquito nets impregnated with permethrin, in order to fight against malaria.
Permethrin is hardly washable with water and soap. Through contact with mosquito net famers’ hands have been impregnated with the toxic product and contaminated the vanilla bean during the curing and storage phases.
Finally, an exemption has been given by Ecocert to increase the limit threshold of permethrin content and to certify more Organic vanilla batches. Nevertheless, all batches could not be certified, with an influence on offer, which is smaller than demand.
What future for Organic vanilla ?
The question is, which actions are put in place to fight against permethrin issue? At the time of last discussions, the WHO refused to stop the distribution of mosquito nets. As a consequence, two points remain unresolved: how will be the 2015 Organic crop, and what about environment and health of Madagascan farmers who sometimes fish with mosquito nets, use them as curtains and eat with their hands?