There are a lot of claims aimed at products being organic these days. What does USDA Organic Certification actually mean to the consumer? Yes, there is usually a label but those can get confusing as well. For starters the USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture, this the branch of the federal government that enforces the rules for the production of all the products here in the U.S. In order for products to be labeled as USDA Organic, where the products are made has to be a certified as an organic producer, and they are held to certain guidelines through auditing processes in order to have an organic product.
The USDA has said in the past that their goals within organic farming are to “integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The USDA has regulated that processed products, crops, and livestock can be certified as organic products. Providing they stay within the guidelines for being organic.
What does it mean when you see something labeled as organic at the grocery store or on the internet? The item must have an ingredients list that certifies 95% or more of the ingredients are certified organic. Organic means that an item is free of all synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes. The items cannot be processed with any industrial solvents, cannot have been irradiated, can’t been in contact with sewage or have been genetically engineered in any way. The remaining 5% can be additives in the ingredients (usually preservatives) but must be on an approved list from the USDA. And yes, if a product is not organic it could very well include many of, if not all of those elements.
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