What is “organic”… really?
We live in a life where we hear the word “organic” associated with all kinds of things -- food, beauty/personal care products, pet products, cleaning products, clothing and more… I don’t know about you – but many of my clients are bombarded with information about foods and products with claims of being organic. It is often confusing and overwhelming. How do you know what is truly organic and what isn’t?
As with anything else, there are so many rules and regulations I couldn’t even begin to list them all… SO I am going to summarize the important details and narrow the focus down to agriculture items (i.e., food) and cosmetics/personal care products.
Let’s start with food.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has identified three categories of labeling organic products:
1. 100% Organic -- Made with 100% organic ingredients. This means ALL ingredients must be certified organic. Any processing aids must be organic and product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel. These products may use the USDA organic seal and/or organic claim.
2. Organic -- Made with at least 95% organic ingredients. This means non-organic ingredients are allowed per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) – up to a total of 5%. These products may use the USDA organic seal and/or organic claim.
3. Made With Organic Ingredients -- Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including not allowing GMOs (genetically modified organisms), however they are not required to be organically produced. They must not include the USDA organic seal but can state “made with organic” on the packaging.
Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic clams on the front of the package. Of course the USDA Organic Seal may not be displayed on the front or the side of the package.
I know… it is a lot of information to remember. Instead of remembering all of those details, you can just look for the USDA Certified Organic Seal and you will know