What is the USDA Organic Certification ?
Author: ejuno team Date Posted:1 February 2017
What is the USDA?
USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture; they are the executive federal department in charge of developing and administering federal laws in relation to all aspects of agriculture, forestry, farming, and food.
The USDA website states that:
“USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.” – United States Department of Agriculture1
However, USDA Organic labeling is found on a number of other products on the shelf too, such as cosmetics, personal, body care and skincare products and this is just as important to take into consideration when you are choosing these brands to use for both you and your little ones.
Once certified, these products are qualified to be put into the same 4 possible organic categories as all other agricultural products.
The USDA states that the 4 organic labeling categories are as follows:
- 1. “100 percent organic” – Product must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients. Products may display the USDA Organic seal and must display the certifying agent’s name and address.2
2. “Organic” – Product must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Remaining product ingredients must consist of non-agricultural substances approved on the National List or non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form, also on the National List. Products may display the USDA Organic Seal and must display the certifying agents name and address.2
3. “Made with organic ingredients” - Products contain at least 70% organic ingredients and product label can list up to three of the organic ingredients or “food” groups on the principal display panel. For example, body lotion made with at least 70% organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and only organic herbs may be labelled either “body lotion made with organic lavender, rosemary, and chamomile,” or “body lotion made with organic herbs.” Products may NOT display the USDA Organic Seal and must display the certifying agent’s name and address.2
4. “Less than 70 percent organic ingredients” - Products cannot use the term “organic” anywhere on the principal display panel. However, they may identify the specific ingredients that are USDA-certified as being organically produced on the ingredients statement on the information panel. Products may NOT display the USDA Organic Seal and may NOT display a certifying agent’s name and address. (Water and salt are also excluded here.) 2
Understanding what a ‘USDA Certified’ label means is exceptionally important when deciding on whether or not something is safe for you and your little ones.
Having this understanding empowers you as the consumer to make an educated choice about the products you choose to bring into your home. As a USDA certified product you are receiving a guarantee that the strictest of possible guidelines have been adhered to and the product complies with the USDA rules and regulations; in not only the production of the product but its packaging and labeling too.
You can rest assured that here at ejuno, we will always label very clearly, whether or not a product is ‘USDA Certified’ because we want to “take the guess work out of choosing what household and body care products to use and be able to provide you with complete confidence of safety and purity”– ejuno Founder Dr. Catherine Collins
While this is just a very basic explanation of what it means to be USDA certified; we urge you to continue to educate yourself.
The battle for our right to clean, safe organic products rages on and the best thing you can do for you and your family is educate yourself on exactly what these labels mean and stick to the brands and companies that you know for a fact use high quality, pure organic products.
Do you have any more questions about the USDA or any other organic label?
Do you have any favourite organic products that you use on the regular?
We would love to hear from you, no matter the question or story, big or small, please comment below!!