The USDA has established an organic certification program that requires all organic goods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed - and only products certified 95% or more organic can display this USDA Sticker.
Here's what it all means:
If a food boasts the USDA Organic label, then it has been produced and processed according to the USDA standards and at least 95% of the food's ingredients are organically produced.
Food or products that are completely organic are labeled as such - 100% organic - and can carry a small USDA seal. Foods that contain more than one ingredient can use the USDA organic seal or the following wording on the labels, contingent on the number of organic ingredients:
100% ORGANIC: Products can only contain organically produced ingredients.
ORGANIC: Products that are at least 95% organic - not counting added water or salt and must not contain added sulfites.
MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: These are products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The organic seal can't be used on these packages. For foods that contain less than 70% organic ingredients, the organic seal can't be used on their packaging.
NATURAL is NOT Organic: Don't mistake the term NATURAL for organic. Natural foods are not organic. They don't contain additives or preservatives, but they can be grown with pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMO's) and are barely regulated. The only real requirement is that the label must explain the used of the term natural, such as NO added colorings or artificial ingredients or minimally processed.
What are your Products Wearing?
(from Extraordinary Health - Volume 15)
USDA Organic is More Than a Seal. It's an Earned Privilege, a Badge of Honor and a Commitment to Pure Ingredients, Not Toxins.
It makes sense to choose products that are pure and healthy, not filled with toxins. Unless products are wearing the USDA Certified Organic seal, ensuring at least 95% organic content, then you're probably getting toxins like pesticides, GMOs and more. USDA Organic is the assurance you can count on due to the numerous standards and checkpoints in place every step along the way.
So, what are your foods and products wearing? If they're not displaying the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic seal, then they could be wearing more than you want. If they're sporting the USDA Organic seal, however, then you're getting high-quality, pure nutritious goods, not toxins like pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and more.
By definition, the USDA Organic seal means: No irradiation. No sewage sludge. No synthetic fertilizers. No pesticides. No genetically modified organisms. It also denotes adherence to animal health and welfare standars, zero antibiotics and growth hormones, 100 percent organic feed and giving animals access to the outdoors. Additionally, it means specific soil and water conservation methods and pollution reduction.
The USDA Organic seal also ensures that the product contains 95 percent of more certified organic content, delivering an elite status because USDA organic standards are set high and enforced from start to finish.
It Starts With the Land and Ends with You
It's a three-year process to convert land to organic status, and only the third year - not before - can produce be called organic. There's also a residue-testing program to verify that pesticides aren't applied to organic crops, since over 3,000 high-risk toxins, including pesticides, are by law excluded from organic products.
That's a big deal, too. If a product starts by being grown with pesticides or other toxins then it ultimately gets to you. For example, the most common plants used for the majority of protein powders or greens products on the market - including soybeans, cereal grasses, spinach, kale, broccoli and more - all rank high in pesticide use while growing. If they get the toxins, then you do, too - unless the product is USDA Organic.
Over one billion tons of pesticides are used in the US each year and four crops, including soybeans, receive 73 percent of the pesticides in the US. Likewise, genetically modified (GM) soy and corn make up more than 80 percent of all GMOs available and are in nearly every processed food in the US. Additionally, GM food manufacturers don't have to say on the label that a food contains GMOs.
Unfortunately, those toxins show up in us. For instance, a 2004 CDC data analysis revealed that 100 percent of blood and urine tests from all subjects monitored showed pesticide residues - some over four times what is deemed "acceptable." That's disheartening news.
Pesticides can cause poisoning, infertility, birth defects, nervous system damage and cancer. GMOs can lead to infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis; faulty insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation; and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.
Avoid these toxins by choosing USDA certified organic. Scientists say that pesticide levels drop to undetectable levels when test subjects eat an organic diet, but return almost immediately with a non-organic diet.
USDA Certified Organic is Serious Business
Before a product is labeled organic, a government-approved certifier inspects organic farmers, ranchers, distributors, processors and traders - including supermarkets and restaurants - to make sure they comply with ALL USDA Organic regulations. The USDA conducts audits and ensures that certifying agents properly certify organic products. Working with the USDA the National Organic Program (NOP) develops the laws that regulate the creation, production, handling, labeling, trade, and enforcement of all USDA Organic products.
There's no mercy for imposters, either. Any individual or company who sells or labels a product as organic when it doesn't meet USDA standards can be fined up to $10,000 for each violation, or be suspended from or lose their organic certificate.
Small farmers with less than $5,000 in organic sales are exempt from certification process, but they must still comply with government standards and can't display the USDA Organic seal.
Check what your products are wearing. If you see the USDA Organic seal, all is well.
REMEMBER... YOU ARE what you EAT. Beci