Organic, natural, and eco-friendly foods and products are often touted as being 'greener', healthier, and all around better for you and our environment (organic food is better tasting too if you ask us!). Here at Organic Stores, we're passionate about creating a healthier world and we're working diligently to bring new healthier, natural, and eco-friendly products to our customers everyday.
We firmly believe that buying organic is an integral part of any decision to live a healthier, happier and more sustainable lifestyle. Making the decision to buy organic also supports farmers, producers, and everyone else who believes in a healthier, greener, and more earth-friendly way of life.
What Does Organic Mean?
The term organic in regards to agriculture is a labeling mechanism used in reference to products produced under the Organic Foods Protection Act of 1990. The act requires organic farmers, producers, and suppliers to "optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”
- Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are produced from animals that are not treated with any antibiotics or artificial growth hormones.
- Producers are allowed to provide livestock with vitamin and mineral supplements but are required to feed livestock products that are 100% organic.
- Producers of organic livestock are forbidden from withholding treatment from an injured or sick animal; however animals treated with medication may no longer be sold as 'organic'.
- All livestock labeled 'organic' must have adequate access to the outdoors and to pasture and may be confined temporarily only for reasons of health, safety, or to protect soil or water quality.
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- Organically grown crops must be grown on land that has had no prohibited substances used on it for at least 3 years prior to harvest.
- The use of fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge is prohibited.
- Genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and the use of most pesticides is prohibited.
- Organic seeds should be used when possible, however non-organic seeds may be used under certain strict conditions.
Understanding Organic Labeling
All products with the "organic" label must pass strict regulations and must be certified by a USDA-accredited agency. The presence of the official "USDA Organic" seal ensures that the product is at least 95% organic, however here's a quick guide that should give you an idea of the exact specifications:
Single Ingredient Foods:
For single-ingredient foods including fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, and cheese, look for the word "organic" on the label. The official USDA Organic seal may or may not appear on the packaging as well.
Foods made with more than one ingredient including beverages, snacks and other processed foods are labeled according to the content of their ingredients.
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- Product must only contain ingredients that are 100% organic (excluding any added water or salt).
- Product must show the name of the agency that certified the product as organic.
- The use of the USDA Organic seal is optional
- Product must contain at least 95% organic ingredients (excluding any added water or salt).
- Product may contain non-organically produced ingredients if they are not available in organic form.
- Name of certifying agency must appear on packaging; USDA Organic seal is optional.
- Label may display the actual percentage of organic ingredients.
Made With Organic Ingredients
- Product must contain at least 70% organic ingredients (excluding any added water or salt).
- Product may contain up to 30% non-organically produced agricultural ingredients, yeast, and certain other allowable substances.
- Product must show name of certifying agency (the words "Made with Organic ..." are optional).
- Product may state total percentage of organic ingredients.
- Product may not display USDA Organic seal.
Some Organic Ingredients
- Product may contain less than 70% organic ingredients and more than 30% non-organically produce agricultural ingredients (excluding any added water or salt).
- Product must show an ingredient statement any time the word "organic" is used.
- Products may (if truthful) be named "pesticide free," "no drugs or growth hormones used," "sustainably harvested," etc.
- Products marked as "transitional" are currently in the transition phase between being non-organically produced and organically produced. The USDA allows products to be labeled "organic" if and only if no prohibited substances have been used on the product for at least 3 years before harvest. Products labeled "transitional" are currently undergoing this 3 year transition.
Reasons to Buy Organic
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Organic foods are guaranteed.
- All foods labeled "organic" must be in compliance with the United States Organic Law. The "organic" label on products gives customers the assurance that no prohibited pesticides, herbicides, or other substances have been used on the product.
Organic foods carry less risk.
- All foods carrying the "organic" label are not permitted to come in contact with most of the pesticides, herbicides, or sewage sludge that is regularly used on many non-organically produced products.
Organic farming is sustainable.
- Unlike traditional non-organic farming which uses chemicals that strip the soil of its nutrients and minerals, organic farmers foster healthier soil through proper tillage and crop rotation instead of using harmful chemicals. Healthier soil means a more sustainable growing environment for farmers.
Organic farming helps protect our water.
- Since organic farmers do not use the same harsh chemicals as their non-organic counterparts, organic soil tends to be much healthier than non-organic soil. The humus in organic soil retains much more water than non-organic soil, which allows organic farmers to conserve much more water than anyone else.
Organic farming helps support small family farms.
- According to a report published by the University of California, Berkeley: "Organic management practices promote soil health, water conservation and can reverse environmental degradation. The emphasis on small-scale family farms has the potential to revitalize rural areas and their economies."
Organic food tastes great!
- Healthier foods are tastier foods, but don't take our word for it - try some out for yourself!