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What Do Organic Labels Mean?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

You hear organic beauty products and foods are better for you, but you might not know why. Understanding what organic means is not simple to figure out, but with some basic information, you can be a more prepared consumer. Know what is in your food and personal care products so you are aware of any items of concern.

Definitions

Merriam-Webster.com defines organic as it pertains to food and other similar items as, “of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides.” Because there are multiple groups that certify products as organic, each group has their own version of this definition, but they are all similar. This means that the products you are using don’t contain, and were not grown with, things that have been found to be harmful to humans in a variety of studies.

Regulations

Multiple organizations certify crops and other items as organic. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one of the groups known most for organic certification and provides their own stamp or sticker so consumers can find those products easily. There are many regulations for products certified organic by the USDA. Specific rules apply to the manufacturing process and facility, items used in growing or making organic foods, and how the records of such specifics are kept. Other organizations that certify products as organic have varying requirements for their individual programs, but much of the basics are the same.

Product Info

To learn about products, look at which group certified it as being organic. You can read the guidelines for certification and you will know that the product with that group’s sticker, seal or logo has met those guidelines. If you are looking for product information on items that are packaged, also look at the ingredient list. While individual ingredients in the listing may be described as organic, understanding what other ingredients are in the product can guide you to the right option. While one ingredient in a product may be organic, others may not. This holds especially true with organic beauty products described as natural, so do your research, read labels thoroughly, and question the product’s maker by phone or email if you are unsure of the product’s organic status.

Advice

If you are considering purchasing organic fruit, think about the item you are looking for. Fruits where you peel away the skin, like bananas or oranges, are safe bets even if they are not certified organic. Any fruit where you ingest the peel or skin is one where you might want to pay for the organic item to decrease the amount of chemicals you will take in through the skin of the fruit. Understand that when you are shopping for products with more than a few ingredients, it is much harder for those companies to get their products certified organic. Because many organic certifications require that most if not all ingredients are organic, it is very difficult and expensive. Do not immediately discount a product just because it is not organic if it includes many ingredients. 


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Bibliography

  1. "Merriam Webster Dictionary - Organic." Merriam-Webster.com. 13/11/2011 <Web >
  2. "Organic Certification." United States Department of Agriculture. 13/11/2011 <Web >

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