Going organic? What it all means

In 2002 the USDA set the standards for what it meant for a product to be certified ‘organic’

Going organic

What does it mean for a product to be certified ‘organic’?

Regulations for Being Certified Organic for Agriculture:

The purpose of labeling and certifying items as ‘organic’ was to allow conscious consumers to buy vegetables guaranteed to have been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or hormones. The USDA outlines the regulations for animals as well. Animals must be free-range, fed only organic crops, and raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. On paper, these regulations seem straightforward and appealing, but how closely are do companies and farms follow them and how closely are they enforced? 

The USDA states that organic products are to be completely free of GMOs, but there are some loopholes. While no products that have been tampered with by man are to be used when farming organic products, exceptions are made for seeds that have been modified with radiation or chemicals – which is USDA approved.

Regulations also advertise that products cannot be created using synthetics, but there is actually a list of synthetics that have been approved for use in organic products.

Regulations for Being Certified Organic for Clothing:

When it comes to organic clothing, the line is hazy as there are no set regulations for what would be considered organic in clothing. There is a regulation on cotton because cotton seeds and cotton oils are important to food products, which fall under agricultural farming, which has been regulated by the USDA. But generally, like organic produce, any agricultural substances grown in compliance with organic farming could technically be considered organic clothing. 

There are though a lot of alternative and natural fibers starting to become more popularized such as jute, hemp, wool, alpaca wool or abaca, they have yet to completely take off and become fully regulated.

The Benefits of Going Organic:

After all is said and done, finding the organic products that best fit your lifestyle and that actually meet regulations can benefit you.

A four-year study found the following: 

  • Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants
  • Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
  • Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants

 When you eat organic food, you aren’t consuming dangerous pesticides or hormones. Instead, you’re receiving a significantly higher amount of nutrients.


Likewise, when shopping for organic clothing – or even used clothing – you don’t have to worry about the residue of pesticides or formaldehyde from new clothes seeping into your skin.

Always do research on the company that produced the organic item. Just because something has a few organic ingredients does not make it organic, if the other ingredients aren’t. When grocery shopping, look for organic certification labels.

Organic Certification Labels to Look For:

Organic certifications/logos to look for in the U.S., Europe and Canada

Organic certifications/logos to look for in the U.S., Europe and Canada

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