Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What’s the difference between Organic and Certified Organic?

California Baby® Calendula Growing Field

In a conversation recently with friends who are considering marketing a supplement product line, I commented that unless it’s certified organic, I wasn’t interested in trying it. “Of course!” they said in unison, “It’s organic, wild harvested, all that...” Being privy to the behind the scenes shenanigans of the natural and supplement industry, I know that when it comes to vitamins and supplements, the company you buy from makes a HUGE difference. “What do you want us to do, get a certificate?” they responded incredulously. “That’s exactly what I want you to do, and be sure to verify that it is current,” was my reply. You may be thinking, ‘ohh, that Jessica is way too much of a stickler,’ or ‘if a company says they use organic ingredients, shouldn’t that be good enough for me.’ The answer is, yes, maybe. That is where the word ‘certified’ becomes very important.

What does "Certified Organic" mean?

Here’s the deal straight from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) (of which I am a member):

 "Certified Organic" means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set.

So there you have it, pixel by pixel. A little bit of clarification to help you cut through the marketing hype. And when it comes to vitamins and supplements, my suggestion is to only buy from a company that has a reputation for extremely high ethics and quality (hint: it won’t be the cheapest product on the shelf).