Digestate quality and safety for agriculture

This report summarises the findings of a project commissioned by WRAP to investigate the safety of digestate meeting the BSI PAS 110 quality specification, when used in agriculture and field horticulture.  A wide range of hazards were considered and risks from digestate use were considered to be acceptably low or negligible in all scenarios examined.

The study concluded that risks associated with the use of BSI PAS 110 digestates in GB agriculture are acceptably low and in many cases, negligible.  It is also appropriate to recognise the importance of complying with regulations for the use of organic materials in agriculture and horticulture, and strict adherence to the requirements of the BSI PAS 110 digestate specification as practical steps to effectively manage risks.  Normal hygiene practices should be followed, such as avoidance of direct handling, and statutory no graze periods should be observed where relevant.

Where growers of short growth period baby leaf salads wish to use digestates, they should satisfy themselves that the materials are of appropriate sanitary quality.  This may require a degree of processing and testing over and above the standard requirements of the BSI PAS 110 specification.

The conclusions from this research underpin WRAP’s ‘Renewable Fertiliser Matrix’, which clearly illustrates cropping and grazing situations where digestate can be safely used.  The accompanying good practice guidance provides agronomic advice for digestate use.

A copy of the summary report can be found here

If you would like full details of the technical reports please contact  risk.assessments@wrap.org.uk, quoting the report name requested.