If you’re a health conscious person, you may very well be aware of the struggle of going through the nutritional facts, the ingredient list, and the dietary requirements before you pick out the right product at your grocery store. On top of all this, before you make an informed decision about purchasing a product, you should also be aware of what an “organic” label on a product means.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines USDA-certified organic foods as foods that are produced using federally approved methods and guidelines. Factors such as the quality of soil, practices of raising animals, usage of additives and pest control are strictly regulated. The use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are strictly prohibited for those who wish to produce certified organic foods.

What does a USDA organic certification entail?

An organic certification consists of farmers documenting their entire process as well as getting inspected for all their practices throughout the year. So whether it’s crop health, water contamination or simply record-keeping, there are numerous on-site inspections that farmers go through for their produce to be considered certified organic.

So, when USDA tracks the process of organic produce from the first step to the absolute last, it is able to deliver its promise of organic food actually being organic.

What are the categories of organic labels?

The quantity of organic ingredients used to make a product decides which organic label can be used on your product. USDA has broadly divided the organic labels into four main categories.

1.    100% Organic

Food products with a claim that they’re 100% organic, means the product is made using exclusively 100% USDA-certified organic ingredients. This also means that any and all processes involved during the making of the produce are 100% USDA certified organic.

100% organic food products are USDA-certified organic foods, which means they use the USDA seal. In addition to your product having a USDA approved seal, it can also get certified under CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers).

2.    Organic

All products with an organic label contain atleast 95% organic substances with the other 5% inorganic ingredients falling under the allowed ingredients as per USDA requirements. Much like the 100% organic seal, organic products can also use the certified seal by USDA and CCFO.

SF Mart’s USDA and CCOF certified organic sun-dried zucchini

3.    Made With Organic Ingredients

Products claiming to have been made with organic ingredients means that they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. The rest of the 30% of ingredients can be non-organic but must be produced without using prohibited practices.

These practices include, but are not limited to genetic engineering, irradiation, sewage sludge and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

4.    Specific organic ingredients

If a product contains less than 70% organic ingredients, it cannot claim to be organic but only mention the list of organic ingredients under its ingredient panel on the product itself. There are extremely strict and heavy fines on anyone who claims to sell organic products when the organic ingredient content is much less than 70%.

What’s the difference between the USDA organic seal and an organic label?

The USDA organic seal signifies a product consisting of 100% organic ingredients and was made without any synthetic methods. On the other hand, an organic label means your product is made from some organic ingredients, not all, and is also not USDA-certified.

What does a CCOF seal entail?

The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) is a US-based organic foods certifying agency that was established 40 years ago and holds international recognition. If a product has the CCOF approval seal, it means that the product is certified under one of the most widely recognized and accepted seals in the organic market around the world.

CCOF’s sunflower logo can be used on certified organic products. A CCOF seal of approval, much like the USDA certified seal of approval, adds credibility and marketability to the product.

This means the product you’re about to purchase has been thoroughly following federal regulations and all its processes were in compliance to the set standards and guideliness as provided by two internationally recognized authorities.

Searching for authentic organic food products to purchase can involve exploring a lot of organic food stores. At SF Mart.com, we offer a wide range of USDA and CCOF certified organic food products and we are more than happy to deliver them to your doorstep. Reach out to us on (714)256-0808 or drop an email at sales@seasonfood.us and our representative will get back to you with further details.