If you are managing a food company or considering starting one, various certifications will be up for grabs based on your organization’s needs. One that increasing numbers of companies are choosing is organic certification. This certification can give your consumers peace of mind about what your food products actually consist of. Read on to learn more!
What is organic certification?
This certification is often undertaken by producers of organic food as well as other organic agricultural items out there. These products are sometimes known as biological or ecological products.
So, how do you actually get certified?
Now, you may be wondering how companies can get rewarded with this type of certification. You’ll need to complete an application, inspection, and certification step to become certified to process or produce organic food products. Typically, it will take around two years for you to get fully licensed as an organic producer, although it can take more or less time, depending on your individual situation.
What are the standards for certified organic products?
Obviously, livestock, crops, and multi-ingredient products differ – meaning their standards also differ in their industries. Livestock standards concentrate on animals such as poultry, fish, meat, eggs, and dairy by-products. On the other hand, crops are usually food items that are farmed, harvested, and transformed into commodities, such as corn, berries, and rice. Let’s check these out in more detail.
Usually, regulations require that the animals involved are fed 100% organic feed and forage, not fed antibiotics or hormones, and raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors. For example, in these conditions, animals may graze on pasture.
Before the harvest, crops must be grown on soil with no prohibited substances allocated to it for at least three years. These substances include the majority of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In situations when someone must utilize an artificial resource to achieve a particular aim, this substance must firstly be approved according to criteria that scrutinize its impact on the environment and human health.
If a food product is marketed as organic, it must include at least 95% certified organic ingredients. The other 5% of these ingredients must be organically produced unless allowed on the National List or commercially unavailable. The National List states the exceptions to this organic-only rule. So, technically, some non-organic ingredients can be put into organic foods. If a food item boasts a ‘made with’ organic label, 70% of the components must be certified organic, although the USDA organic seal cannot be utilized in this case. Any items with less than 70% organic ingredients can only state particular organic ingredients on their market label.
Something to keep in mind
It’s crucial to note here that boasting an organic certification is not actually the same as being ‘humane’. Remember – organic certification isn’t technically a welfare statement, especially concerning livestock products. After all, you cannot be sure that the animals are continuously being treated adequately, even if their feed is organic. An excellent example to consider here is chickens and eggs. Just because the chickens are ‘cage-free’ does not mean they are free to roam around on freshly pastured land happily. They could be in a crowded coop with a tiny outdoor area that they might not even be able to access.
So, are certified organic products sustainable? It really depends on the product! These certifications are certainly a step in the right direction, although considering the paragraph above can demonstrate that some companies still have a long way to go in achieving sustainability.
Firstly, people can learn that organic certification is undoubtedly something to look out for. While this certification doesn’t automatically mean a brand is fully sustainable and ethical, it indeed celebrates some positive attributes that show a brand is trying to make a positive impact.
Next, businesses can benefit from having this certification. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for organic products that protect our environment, meaning that they may be able to attract increasing amounts of profit as time goes by.
Finally, you and your business can make a difference in our world by embracing positive change. By working towards getting organic certification for your food products or choosing a certified organic brand, you are choosing to help our environment just a little more!