Due to the vastly different growing conditions throughout the United States and the world, Protected Harvest Standards are established to reflect the unique growing requirements and environmental considerations of each crop and bioregion. Each crop- and region-specific standard is divided into the following three parts:
A point system is used that rewards growers for implementing ecologically based practices in nine different management categories: field scouting, information sources, pest management decisions, field management decisions, weed management, insect management, disease management, soil and water quality, and storage management. A minimum number of points must be achieved in each category to qualify for certification.
In order to qualify for certification, growers must stay below an established total number of Toxicity Units per acre. The most highly toxic pesticides are prohibited. Other pesticides may be used with restriction. The overall number of toxicity units permitted is low, and growers must use their chemical choices wisely in order to pass.
Each packer or handler of the crop must undergo an additional chain-of-custody handler audit that follows the crop from field to retail, including during storage, packing, pallet loading, and transportation, ensuring the integrity of Protected Harvest’s certification.