What Does USDA Certified Organic Mean?
When shopping at the grocery store, it’s essential to choose healthy food products for our friends and families. In an effort to find nutrient-rich foods, we often are drawn to labels claiming to be organic, sugar-free, all-natural, non-GMO, and USDA Certified Organic. Although "certified organic" sounds official, what does it mean?
Organic Certification Process
To label a food item as certified by the USDA, a company must apply to an accredited certifying agent and provide the following:
- A list of all substances used in their soil in the past three years
- A plan detailing their operations and any substances currently in use
- A list of products they have grown, produced or raised
Once the application and required fees are submitted, the certifying agency will conduct an on-site inspection, review the application, and verify compliance. This process must be completed and passed annually.
The 4 USDA Certified Organic Labeling Categories
To earn the USDA Certified Organic label, a product must meet the following 4 criteria by containing no:
- Synthetic hormones
- Toxic pesticides
There are also regulations regarding the humane treatment of animals. Companies who label their products as USDA Certified Organic must strictly adhere to these standards, as there are federal regulations in place. These companies are also audited annually by a third party.
Does USDA Certified Organic Mean Non-GMO?
Does USDA Certified Organic mean it’s also non-GMO? Because one of the components of this certification requires that products must qualify as non-GMO and be free from pesticides it also is non-GMO.
However, a product labeled as non-GMO is not necessarily USDA Certified Organic. "Non-GMO” and “all-natural” can still mean pesticides were used. Typically non-GMO items have been inspected and qualified by a third party, but the standards are not strictly updated and regulated by the government.
Why Do We Want USDA Certified Organic Ingredients in Our Food?
USDA Certified Organic ingredients are made from wholefood. Our bodies thrive on natural substances like whole fruits and vegetables and typically do not benefit from synthetic or modified ingredients. Artificial colors, preservatives, and fillers added to packaged foods may be harmful, especially when consumed regularly.
Organic farming is also better for the environment. When you choose organic foods, you can be sure they were grown in soil that is not harming nearby animals. These farms also produce less pollution and focus on sustainable processes without the use of synthetic materials.
Organic Energy Bars from Kate’s Real Food
When choosing single ingredient items, such as meat or produce, it may be simple to seek out USDA Certified Organic options. However, when we find ourselves looking for a quick, on-the-go snack or meal replacement, we usually fall back on prepackaged processed foods.
Kate’s Real Food bars are the perfect solution for on-the-go nutrition. They're made only with USDA Certified Organic ingredients like oats, nuts, fruit, and chocolate. If you haven’t tried one of our 7 delicious Kate's bars yet, we encourage you in doing so. You won’t be disappointed!