Organic Fruit Ripening

Ethylene and Ethy-Gen II Concentrate are allowed for use in ripening and degreening of organic fruit.  The regulations and fruits allowed vary by country.

United States

The United States’ National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) allows for the use of ethylene as noted in this document. Rule 205.605(b) indicates that ethylene is allowed for post harvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.

However, this rule does not say what fruits are defined as “tropical.”  It is our understanding that the determination of what is tropical is made by the fruit handler’s organic certifier. If one wanted to use ethylene on a certain organic fruit they would make a request to the certifier to review the use for compliance. Then the certifier would do the research on whether the fruit in question could be considered tropical and ethylene used in ripening of it.

The USDA has a very good website covering certification and a listing of certification agencies, located here.

At this time we understand that ethylene is allowed for use on organic bananas, mangoes, avocados….perhaps more.  Contact a certifying agent to be sure.


Ethylene is allowed for post-harvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus according to this document.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom’s Soil Association allows for the use of ethylene under rule 6.2.1. Visit the UK Soil Association’s web site here.


According to this document, ethylene is allowed for organic bananas and kiwis.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand allow ethylene for ripening of organic bananas and tropical fruits, degreening of citrus.  For more information, in this document, see Table A6 Substances permitted as postharvest/storage treatment.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM): In Appendix 4 of this document, ethylene is listed as approved as a “processing and postharvest handling aid.”