Nowadays, there are so many products in the market ranging from T-shirts to soap to foods that are usually marketed as “organic.” This word or term has become so well-liked, even cities overflow with organic dry cleaners. This common usage of the term had made a lot of people to question how to know when products truly are organic and how consumers can tell the difference. So how can you tell if what you’re buying is really organic? Keep on reading!
In the United States, organic can be described differently depending on the product. The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA certifies whether or not food items are organic, but nonfood items are not as strictly controlled. You will easily determine if the food is certified organic if it meets USDA organic standards also often called “USDA-certified organic.” In the US, organic food can be identified when the following conditions are met:
- The product is labelled with the official USDA organic seal.
- The product has been verified organic.
- The product includes 95 percent or more organic ingredients.
We recommend that you look for organic food stores if you prefer natural products. However, if you still have doubts about a certain product, you may look for the USDA’s official organic seal is green and white. Although there are producers and manufacturers that use a similar, yet different coloured seal. Mislabeling can lead to fines of up to $11,000 per violation.
Moreover, a product doesn’t necessarily have to contain 95 percent organic ingredients to be exactly beneficial. The USDA actually permit those products with at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients to use the words “made with organic ingredients.” But those products cannot convey the green-and-white USDA seal.
For instance, if you’re buying fruits and vegetables and want to know if they are truly organic is to look at the Price Look Up (PLU) sticker. It’s organic if the code contains five-digits beginning with the number 9. Meanwhile, nonorganic counterparts will have four digits.
As a customer, you need to be wise especially if you are shopping and be very clear on what logos and labels from certified bodies appears like and claims.
CHECK INGREDIENTS LIST
You may read the ingredients lists if you are buying a certain product to check any unnatural components. It’s a great way to determine if ‘organic’ products from smaller companies that are not certified are the real deal. The things you can eat are the ingredients that are grown in nature or on a farm, you can be sure that it’s a certified organic product.
Organics produced by farmers may cost less since it has lower shipping costs and no middlemen involved, but it’s difficult to identify what you’re getting—particular when products lack PLU stickers. Farmers who sell their products as organic are supposed to have their wares certified by a USDA-accredited agent according to the USDA’s National Organic Program or if not, they would face fines if they get caught. If the product is marketed as certified, you may ask for a copy of the organic certification paperwork. The vendors should be able to hand it to you whenever they are selling their wares.
We highly recommend that you ask the stallholder, local farmer, or supermarket shop assistant about the authenticity of an organic produce claim. It’s good to be conscious of organic products when you are shopping since there are plenty of marketing tactics going on out there.
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