Oct 26 2014

Certified Organic 101

Published by at 8:53 am under Organic

Organic 101…understanding the meaning of Certified Organic.

Eating organic means eating healthier. But what exactly does it mean when a product is “Certified Organic? We all probably have a general understanding of organic, but I thought it would be helpful to delve into this term a little more. What does it take to be an organic farmer? And what regulations must a facility handling organic foods follow?

According to the USDA website on Organic 101, there are four categories for organic certification: crops, wild crops, livestock and handling, (which encompasses the facilities where food is packaged, processed or sold). All agricultural foods labeled as organic in the U.S. fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA. Food, feed, feed input and fiber sold or labeled as organic in the U.S. must follow USDA organic regulations. If a product has the USDA organic seal, this means the product is certified to have 95% or more of its ingredients organic. If a product has multiple ingredients, and some of the ingredients are said to be organic, then those ingredients have been certified. The standards for the USDA organic label are set by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), which develops and ensures the enforcement of these regulations.

Organic farmers must use practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. They must limit the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to those approved in organic regulations and cannot use sewage sludge, irradiation or genetic engineering (see previous three blogs in which we talked in depth about genetic engineering). They must also use organic systems requiring preventative measures and physical controls before using approved pesticides. And they focus on developing soils in ways that rely on natural materials.

Organic handlers process, package or store organic agricultural products. Organic handlers modify agricultural products using methods that comply with organic regulations, such as cooking, baking, dehydrating, slaughtering, packaging, just to name a few. They must protect organic products from contamination by prohibited substances and commingling with nonorganic products.

The land on which organic produce is grown, must be free of prohibited substances for 3 years to be eligible for certification. While both conventional and organic production can occur on the same farm, buffer zones may be required. Additionally, there are no size requirements for organic certification. Though operations grossing less than $5,000 per year from organic products do not have to be certified but they must follow all USDA organic production requirements in order to present their products as organic.

 

Buying organic is your best bet for getting much of the good, soil based bacteria that has long been part of our diets until the introduction of over farming and use of pesticides and herbicides. At Body Biotics, we recommend a regular dose of our BODY BIOTICS Prebiotic/Probiotic SBO Consortia to keep your microbiome in balance and to make up for the lack of these friendly organisms that have become more and more scare in our natural food source.  In addition to eating organic, don’t forget your regular dose of these friendly bacteria in the form of Body Biotics.

Until next week,

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

 

Resource:

http://apps.ams.usda.gov/organic/101/

 

 

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