Certified Organic: Everything You Need to Know
Are Organic Supplements Really Better for You?
Laboratory analysis of organically grown products shows organic products contain higher nutrient and antioxidant levels than the same product grown conventionally. And lab tests show they have less pesticide and nitrate residue, too.
Conducting human studies to prove consuming organic products increases nutrient consumption or reduces the risks of certain diseases is difficult because it is hard to control parameters and isolate benefits. In general, consumers who choose to consume organic foods naturally make better lifestyle choices regarding overall diet and exercise. Their combined lifestyle choices improve their weight, blood pressure, inflammation makers, and more.
In a 2017 review, the health of participates who reported as occasionally or regularly consuming organic food was compared to non-organic consuming participants. The statistical analysis indicates a possible reduced risk of type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease for organic food consumers.
The review also indicated consuming organic food may reduce allergies (especially in children), reduce cadmium (toxic heavy metal) content in organically grown cereal crops, and help reduce antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are less intensively used on livestock and poultry in organic practices.
Why Manufacture Certified USDA Organic Supplements?
Simply stated the biggest reason to develop organic supplements is consumer demand. According to the Hartman Group’s 2019 Sustainability Report, 69% of consumers were more likely or at least somewhat more likely to purchase products containing the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic Seal.
A growing number of US consumers are demanding sustainably sourced natural products with growing resistance to purchasing genetically modified or chemically grown crops. The Hartman Group also reports 26% of consumers will pay more for sustainably sourced brands.
Now that you know consumers will pay more for organically and sustainably produced supplements. What does that mean?
What is Required to be labeled USDA Certified Organic?
Organic production relies on natural over synthetic growth methods. For plant products, the soil must be free from prohibited fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for three years before harvest. For animal products, animals must not be given hormones or antibiotics but are fed 100% organic feed.
The USDA organic label signifies to consumers that organic methods and practices have been stringently followed from the farm to processing to manufacturing to consumer purchasing. Organic food must not contain or be handled with genetically modified organisms.
Methods like genetic engineering, sewage sludge, and irradiation are prohibited in growing and handling organic products. In addition, organic products cannot contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
The USDA keeps an updated National List of substances (organic and non-organic) that are allowed or not allowed for organic crop and animal production. If your product’s ingredients or manufacturer is not certified organic, you cannot include the USDA Organic Seal on the product’s label or make any organic claims on the label’s principal display panel.
The USDA outlines three different organic standards for organic product labeling.
‘100% Organic’ Label
Raw and processed products in the 100% category must contain only organic ingredients that have been certified organic by an authorized organic certifier. The label’s information panel must name the certifying agent. Any processing or handling aids must also be organic.
For the principal display panel to use the Organic label, all of the agricultural ingredients must be certified organic. However, the product can contain a combined 5% of non-organic content as allowed by the National List. This 5% excludes salt and water content.
The label’s information panel must name the certifying agent. For multi-ingredient processed foods, some approved non-agriculture substances like baking soda, enzymes, or pectin are allowed in the Organic label category.
‘Made with Organic’ Label
Excluding salt and water, 70% or more of the product must be certified organic. The rest of the agricultural products contained in the product must be produced without excluded methods as outlined by the USDA. Non-agriculture substances contained in the product must adhere to those allowed in the National List.
On the primary display panel, these products cannot be presented as being fully organic nor contain the USDA Organic Seal. The primary display panel may state, “Made with organic ______,” and list up to three ingredients or ingredient categories like oats, blueberries, or whipped cream.
All organic ingredients can be identified as organic in the ingredients list. The label’s information panel must name the certifying agent.
Specific Organic Ingredients
A multi-ingredient product contains less than 70% certified organic content (excluding salt and water) cannot include the word organic on the label’s principal display panel. In the ingredients list, organic ingredients and their percentage of the product can be noted. The rest of the product is not subject to USDA organic requirements.
These products are not certified organic and do not require naming the certifying agent on the information panel.
What is the difference between natural and organic?
According to the USDA, natural means the product is produced with minimal processing, including no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. The ‘Natural’ label does not refer to methods used to grow crops or raise animals. A product can contain natural ingredients but not be organic.
USDA Organic Certification
To ensure plant products, animal products, and multi-ingredient products meet organic regulations from farm to purchase, the USDA offers organic certification for:
Handling for Processing and Manufacturing,
Livestock and Poultry, and
Steps to Obtaining USDA Organic Certification
The business (farm, ranch, or processing/manufacturing plant) complies with and documents organic processes as outline by the USDA.
The business submits an application and pays fees to a USDA accredited certifying agent.
The certifying agent reviews the application for compliance and then does an on-site inspection of the applicant's facility, processes, and operation.
If the business meets USDA’s regulations, the certifying agent issues an organic certification. If they do not meet the requirements, the certifying agent details changes that must be made to obtain certification.
Once an organic certification is issued to a business, it is updated annually with on-site inspections.
How can you know if a company has organic certification?
To determine if raw ingredients come from a USDA-certified organic farm or that the manufacturer operates under an organic certificate, log onto the National Organic Program website. And check the business’ certification status.
Do that by scrolling down to the Certification and Accreditation subtitle and click on the certification status link. When you get to the Organic Integrity Database, type in the name of the farm or manufacturer in the operation box. If their business name does not come up, they are not a certified organic business.
As a superior supplement manufacturing company, Origin Nutraceutical complies with the regulations for handling organic materials under organic certification from the USDA-approved certifier Organic Certifiers, Inc.
To get our clients the best prices and the quickest turnaround times, Origin Nutra has established organic supply chains from certified suppliers. We manufacture numerous types of supplements while providing excellent customer service. Contact us today to get your brand in the organic supplement market.
The content of Origin Nutraceutical’s website is for information only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Origin Nutraceutical is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those taking Origin Nutraceutical products, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Origin Nutraceutical gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness or applicability of the content.
By: Jae O. Haroldsen
Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):4-12. PMID: 20359265.
Mie, Axel et al. “Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review.” Environmental health : a global access science source vol. 16,1 111. 27 Oct. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12940-017-0315-4
Baudry J, Méjean C, Péneau S, Galan P, Hercberg S, Lairon D, Kesse-Guyot E. Health and dietary traits of organic food consumers: results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Br J Nutr. 2015 Dec 28;114(12):2064-73. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515003761. Epub 2015 Oct 2. PMID: 26429066.
“Sustainability 2019: Beyond Business as Usual.” Hartman Group. 2019. https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/storage.www.hartman-group.com/videos/Wq3iceVkNf6Y1827nzN9IBqP56DzpqEDQw4fOaOe.pdf
McEvoy, Mike. “Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means.” 2019. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-what-usda-organic-label-means
“Labeling Organic Products.” US Dept. Of Agriculture. 2021. https://cms.agr.wa.gov/WSDAKentico/Imported/Labeling-Organic-Products.pdf?/Labeling-Organic-Products.pdf
“Have a Question? Ask USDA.” US Dept. Of Agriculture. 2019. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-is-natural-beef
“National Organic Program.” US Dept. Of Agriculture. https://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program
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