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Why Isn't Hawaiian Spirulina Organic?

At Nutrex Hawaii, we are commonly asked, "Why isn’t Hawaiian Spirulina organic?" In fact, Hawaiian Spirulina is organic, but not in the way that most people are familiar with the term. The reason for this is because the classification "organic," differs between agriculture and aquaculture. 

The Differences Between Organic Agriculture and Organic Aquaculture

In order for agricultural crops to be considered “certified organic,” they need to be grown in an eco-system that uses nutrient sources approved as organic, as well as meet other certification body standards regarding pesticide use, product traceability through the supply chain, etc. In essence, the organic compounds used in organic agriculture are produced by living things. Inorganic sources of nitrogen are not allowed in "organic" agriculture. 

But, in organic spirulina aquaculture, inorganic nitrogen sources are a natural part of the growth process in blue-green algae, and they have been for millions of years. Spirulina grows naturally in waters that are rich in inorganic mineral salts like phosphorus, nitrogen, and natrium. The inorganic fertilizer found naturally in the Earth's soil is how spirulina has been nourished for over three billion years. True organic spirulina is not fertilized using fertilizer derived from plant and animal waste; therefore, it does not meet the agricultural definition of "organic."

How Is Organic Hawaiian Spirulina Produced?

At Nutrex Hawaii's spirulina farm on the Kona coast of Hawaii, we recreate the same growing conditions found in nature in order to cultivate true organic spirulina. We use the same inorganic fertilizer from nature (phosphorus, nitrogen, and natrium) to fuel our spirulina crops, because that is natural food for the algae. Our cultivation centers feature closed-loop productions in lined ponds with no runoff, and no soil contamination.

Why Can't Organic Fertilizer Be Used in Aquaculture?

Organic fertilizers can be used in agriculture because the edible part of the plant does not actually come in contact with the plant and animal waste. Since the edible fruit or vegetable never touches the waste product, contamination risks are low. But, if plant and animal waste were to be used in aquaculture, the spirulina would be in direct contact with the waste, making contamination a very real possibility.

Nutrex Hawaii's Hawaiian Spirulina Is the World's First "Organic" Spirulina

Surprisingly, most spirulina brands available on the market are not certified organic. Nutrex Hawaii Hawaiian Spirulina is the world’s first organic Spirulina, because it meets the three major requirements necessary for being certified organic: 

1. No chemical fertilizers or plant/animal waste products are used in the production of Hawaii Spirulina.
2. Hawaii Spirulina is grown in a BioSecure Zone in lined ponds with no run-off from adjacent farms or golf courses.
3. The Nutrex Hawaii growing facility regularly undergoes third-party farm inspections, pesticide screenings, processing inspections, and other quality control tests.