Posted by: chooseorganic | January 26, 2008

What does “Certified Organic” mean?

In 2002, the USDA established standards for organic products. To meet these standards you must meet strict standards through an organic certification process. To achieve these standards farmers must follow methods that minimize environmental hazards such as soil degradation, and air/water pollution.
Farmers and companies that process and handle organic foods must meet these standards to achieve Organic Certification. Below are some rules that must be followed:

  • Farmer and processor must have annual certification inspections
  • Detailed records must be kept of practices
  • No conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, or harmful chemicals have been applied for at least 3 years
  • Ecologically friendly methods and substances must be used improve soil conditions and control pests

USDA Organic is most notably known by their logo found on food that is at least 95% Organic. Many may think that “USDA Organic” logo means the product is 100 percent Organic which is untrue.

  • 100 percent Organic with USDA Seal: All ingredients and methods used are Organic
  • USDA Organic Seal: At least 95 percent of the ingredients are organic
  • Made with Organic, no USDA seal: At least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic
  • No seal or organic reference: Used when less than 70 percent of ingredients are organic. Check the ingredients label for what particular ingredients are organic
  • All Natural: Be careful. When ingredients are labeled “natural” they may be confused with “Organic”. This statement is very misleading. Some ingredients may organic but most will not. This is a great advertising term used by the food industry to make you pay more for lower quality products. See the article “The Truth about All Natural Food” for more information.
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