Ripening of Organic Fruit
Ethylene is allowed for use on various organic fruits and the regulations vary by country.
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 and avocados....perhaps more. Contact a certifying agent to be sure.
The United Kingdom's Soil Association allows for the use of ethylene under rule 41.2.7 to ripen bananas and kiwi. For more information, visit the UK Soil Association's organic standards, click here.
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM): Indicative List of Substances for Organic Production and Processing lists ethylene as "Only for ripening of fruit".