Safest products available to the general public. It could only be better if you grew it yourself.
Organic producers are inspected on an annual basis and must conform to the USDA rules and regulations governing organic systems to retain their certification as organic.
Organic products are free from:
- Synthetic fertilizers;
- Synthetic pesticides; herbicides and fungicides;
- Genetic Engineering (GMOs) of plants, seeds or animals;
- Sewage Sludge (human waste-milorganite);
- Ionizing Radiation
- Hormones or antibiotics.
To ensure that organic integrity is maintained, randomized testing is required. Generally, 5% of all producers and processors are tested on an annual basis. What is tested for, chemical or GMO, and who gets tested, is at the discretion of the certification agency. Minimal to say the least, but it does help.
Want to know the general rules and regs of organics, check this out: “Introduction to Organic Practices Factsheet”, Read More or Download (to download, right click the link and select Save Link/Target As)
Who decides what is and what is not organic?
The USDA National Organic Program (implemented as of 2002).
Specific guidelines were published in the “Organic Foods Production Act of 1990” (to download, right click the link and select Save Link/Target As).
This “Act” was a start to organics being regulated by the government and a formal request to add organic production into the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The actual implementation of the rules and regulations was not official until 2002.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), is where all organic rules and regulations are specified.
Actually, the CFR is the “codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government produced by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Publishing Office”.
Basically, the CFR is all the rules and regulations that we live by.
What has to be certified organic?
§205.100 What has to be certified.
Officially, the CFR reads:
(a) Except for operations exempt or excluded in §205.101, each production or handling operation or specified portion of a production or handling operation that produces or handles crops, livestock, livestock products, or other agricultural products that are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must be certified according to the provisions of subpart E of this part and must meet all other applicable requirements of this part.
What this means…..
Any crop: Grains, cover crops, herbs, seeds, vegetables, anything that grows in an organic field or is found on unmanaged land that is certified organic (wild harvest) such as herbs, nettles, roots; including fibers produced from crops (cotton); products made from crops (flours, meals, oils, tinctures).
Any livestock: Beef, buffalo, chickens, goats, hogs, sheep, any animal that can be raised on a farm and sold for meat.
Any livestock product: Casings, eggs, meat, milk, valves, wool.
(b) Any production or handling operation or specified
portion of a production or handling operation that has been already certified
by a certifying agent on the date that the certifying agent receives its accreditation
under this part shall be deemed to be certified under the Act until the
operation’s next anniversary date of certification. Such recognition shall only
be available to those operations certified by a certifying agent that receives
its accreditation within 18 months from February 20, 2001.
What this means….
Each and every farm, production facility, processor and most storage facilities has to undergo an annual inspection to retain their organic certification. A certification agency verifies with an on site inspection that the certified organic entity is doing what they agreed to do in their contract.
(c) Any operation that:
(1) Knowingly sells or labels a product as organic, except in accordance with the Act, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than the amount specified in §3.91(b)(1) of this title per violation.
(2) Makes a false statement under the Act to
the Secretary, a governing State official, or an accredited certifying agent
shall be subject to the provisions of section 1001 of title 18, United States
What this means…..
If you say you are organic, you must be
certified under the USDA guidelines. If
you say you are organic and are not certified, you will (no longer may be, but
will) be fined. Fines are growing each
year as more and more people put products on the market that are not certified
Look for the USDA Seal: or Seal can only be in green/tan/black or black/white. If any other color combination other than these two, take a photo of front label and back label (if there is one) and send it to us at email@example.com. If you see the seal, the product should be good to go, however, use of the seal is not a requirement and it may not be on the label.
What is a requirement is a notation on the label under the company’s (or processor’s) name, it will say COB Name of Certification Agency. COB stands for “Certified Organic By”. It may also read “Certified Organic By” and be followed by the certification agencies initials or name. All certification agencies are noted here: https://organic.ams.usda.gov/integrity/Certifiers/CertifiersLocationsSearchPage.aspx.
If you question a product, take a photo of the front label and the back label and any other info about the product, (box, package, etc.), send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will look it up for you. Since the industry is growing so rapidly, there are many products currently in the market place that say “Organic”, but if they are not certified, they are not organic. Be aware!
§205.102 Use of the term, “organic.”
Any agricultural product that is sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must be:
(a) Produced in accordance with the requirements specified in §205.101 or §§205.202 through 205.207 or §§205.236 through 205.240 and all other applicable requirements of part 205; and
(b) Handled in accordance with the requirements specified in §205.101 or §§205.270 through 205.272 and all other applicable requirements of this part 205.
What it means….
Only the US recognizes products labeled as “100 percent organic” (in the rest of the world there is only “organic” or “made with organic”). This means that if an organically allowed vegetable wash is used to wash your radishes, the radishes are no longer “100 percent organic” but rather “organic”. Not a big deal.
“Organic” products must have 95% or more of their
ingredients organic, salt and water don’t count (neither salt nor water is a
certifiable input). Only agricultural ingredients can be “organic”.
“Made with organic” products must have 70% or more of their ingredients organic (again salt and water don’t count).
§205.300 Use of the term, “organic.”
(a) The term, “organic,” may only be used on labels and in labeling of raw or processed agricultural products, including ingredients, that have been produced and handled in accordance with the regulations in this part. The term, “organic,” may not be used in a product name to modify a nonorganic ingredient in the product.
(b) Products for export, produced and certified to foreign national organic standards or foreign contract buyer requirements, may be labeled in accordance with the organic labeling requirements of the receiving country or contract buyer: Provided, That, the shipping containers and shipping documents meet the labeling requirements specified in §205.307(c).
(c) Products produced in a foreign country and exported for sale in the United States must be certified pursuant to subpart E of this part and labeled pursuant to this subpart D.
(d) Livestock feeds produced in accordance with the requirements of this part must be labeled in accordance with the requirements of §205.306.
What it means….
If it is certified organic, it is organic all the way through the system.
No ifs, ands, or buts.