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Organic Certifications



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There's a lot of hype in the world right now about organic and "green" products - but underneath the hype, there's a lot of truth. The fact is that organic farming practices don't put hazardous chemicals into the soil, into the plants or into the animals that eat those plants. Organic farming practices are far more sustainable than 'conventional' practices. Organic farming practices also work in balance with the eco-system and help build healthy soil and maintain clean water and air.

Lately there have been a lot of studies on the potential health benefit of eating organic foods. Though there are conflicting studies, there is a growing body of evident that suggests that organic foods have more nutrients and are, in fact, better for you. Of course, they lack the chemical residues often found in conventionally grown foods.

About Organic Certifications

There are numerous organic certifications and you'll see many of these designations throughout our site. Here's a short course in organic certifications. There are certifications based on US standards and those come under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's jurisdiction. There are private certifications, such as Oregon Tilth and Quality Assurance Institute (QAI) that adhere to USDA guidelines. So, something certified by Oregon Tilth as organic is also considered organic under USDA standards.

Other countries also have organic standards and certifications, though those are less known here in the U.S. primarily because many of the organic products here in the U.S. are certified by U.S. organizations. Europe has numerous certifications, many with certification requirements more stringent that the U.S.

We have not listed every single organic certification available in the U.S. because the list is quite extensive. However, over time, as we see an organic certification growing in use, we may add it to our list. For now, we've selected seven of the most common certifications found on the products we offer - USDA, Oregon Tilth, QAI, CCOF, COFA, OCIA and ICS - to display their logos on our website.

The percent organic is listed for each product and we've listed the certifying agency either via use of the certification icons mentioned here or within the text of the product description. Some products are certified organic by European or other non-U.S. organic certification bodies and, where possible, these are also listed.

Products can be certified as 100% organic, 95% organic, or 'Made With Organic Ingredients' (meaning at least 70% organic). Products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients by volume cannot be certified organic but we identify them as 'Contains Organic Ingredients'. Products that are at least 95% organic are eligible to be certified under the USDA program so when you see the USDA logo, you'll know that the product is at least 95% Organic. The percentage is based on the volume of organic ingredients in the product. Certain ingredients like salt or citric acid can't be certified as organic and often comprise part of the 5% or less non-organic ingredients in a product.

About The Symbols Used On This Site

Our focus is on offering organic products and the majority of our products are certified by one of the organizations listed below. There are other certifying organizations and the numbers are growing every day. For more information on organic certifications, you can do a quick Internet search. The wiki on Wikipedia has some good info - you can start there - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_certification.

USDA


In the US, the National Organic Program (NOP), was enacted as federal legislation in Oct. 2002. It restricts the use of the term "organic" to certified organic producers selling more than $5,000 annually. Certification is handled state, non-profit and private agencies that have been approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of these organizations are listed below.

For more information on the NOP at the USDA, visit their website at www.ams.usda.gov/NOP.

Oregon Tilth


Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit research and education membership organization dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture. Tilth's history begins in 1974, as an agricultural organization with a unique urban-rural outlook. Primarily an organization of organic farmers, gardeners and consumers, Tilth offers educational events throughout the state of Oregon, and provides organic certification services to organic growers, processors, and handlers internationally.

For more information on Oregon Tilth, visit their website at www.tilth.org.

QAI


QAI has been providing the highest level of organic certification service to its growing number of clients since 1989. Currently, QAI offers organic certification under the National Organic Program for Producers, Processors, Private Labelers, Distributors, Retailers, Restaurants, Wild Crop Harvesters, Greenhouse, Mushrooms, and Facilities. QAI also offers 'Fiber Certification' under the American Organic Standards.

For more information on QAI, visit their website at www.qai-inc.com.

CCOF


CCOF was founded in 1973 as a mutual assistance and certification organization for organic farmers and was one the first organizations to perform organic certification in North America. Since then, the CCOF seal has been your assurance of certification with integrity. Today, CCOF maintains one of the most consumer recognized and trusted seals in the organic marketplace. CCOF remains one of the oldest and largest organic certification and trade associations in North America, with more than 1,600 members throughout the farm and processing community.

For more information on CCOF, visit their website at www.ccof.org.

COFA


California Organic Farmers Association is a California non-profit mutual benefit corporation which provides organic certification services to qualified farmers and processors. C.O.F.A. does not certify products as organic but rather it certifies the production or processing operation as conforming to the National Organic Program Standards.

For more information on COFA, visit their website at www.cofa.net.

OCIA


Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, OCIA International provides organic certification services to thousands of organic farmers, processors and handlers from over 20 countries in North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. OCIA was founded in 1985 and has been incorporated since 1988. OCIA is a non-profit, member-owned, organization dedicated to serving the organic certification needs of its associates.

For more information on OCIA, visit their website at www.ocia.org.

ICS


International Certification Services, Inc offers the following programs and services.

* USDA NOP
* Farm Verified Organic
* Canadian Organic Regime
* Bio Suisse
* EEC 2092/91
* JAS Facilitation
* Sustainable Wild Aquatic Harvest
* Turf and Rec Certification

For more information on ICS, visit their website at www.ics-intl.org.

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