8/26/13 2:32 PM Comments

Organic products must be grown, processed and handled from farm to fork without using conventional pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or other banned practices. For companies to label their products as organic, their operations must be inspected and certified by an approved organic certifying agent. 


In 2002, the USDA National Organic Program took effect, and the NOP Final Rule became the one standard used for certifying organic products in the US.  Since that time, when you pick up a product labeled organic you know that it was certified to the same standard as all other organic products, regardless of who certified it.  Products containing 70% or more organic ingredients must list the certification agent. Products containing 95% or more organic ingredients can list the USDA organic seal (however, it is optional). 


Here is a list of the most recognizable labels you might see on products we carry in our stores:




This seal can only appear on the label of finished products that meet the USDA National Organic Program regulations, with at least 95% organic ingredients and all other ingredients on the approved list for use in organic products.   Products that contain less than 95% organic ingredients may not use the USDA organic seal.  


When you see this seal on a product you can be reassured that the food or agricultural product comes from farmers that demonstrate that they are protecting the environment, supporting animal health and welfare, and producing their products without the use of prohibited substances (including synthetic pesticides).


Compliance with USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations is confirmed through annual onsite audits at each state of the production and handling process by a USDA accredited certifying agent.



Quality Assurance International (QAI) is an accredited third party that certifies growers, processors, traders and distributors according to USDA National Organic Program standards. It certifies every step of the organic food production chain – from the land on which the product is grown through the processing and handling facilities transforming the product. 

QAI is the only USDA-accredited organic certifying agency able to offer joint certification to Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards.



International Certification Standards Inc. (ICS) is a USDA National Organic Program accredited certifier.  It’s mission is to provide the most complete highest quality certification services to growers, processors, manufacturers and traders worldwide.   






Oregon Tilth Certified Organic is a not for profit organization that advocates sustainable approaches to agricultural production systems and processing, handling and marketing.  OTCO is one of the first to gain accreditation and offering organic certification under the USDA organic regulations.    


When you see this label, you will know that the product went through strict production standards, on-site inspections, and legally binding contracts to protect producers and buyers of organic products.




California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) is one of the nation’s oldest and largest third-party organic certifying agencies. 


From field to fork, CCOF certifies organic growers, livestock producers, ingredient suppliers, handlers, packaging companies, warehousing, storage facilities to name a few.  CCOF has been a critical

player in the formulation of organic standards. The CCOF name and seal are trusted as the mark of organic integrity by consumers and buyers worldwide.




The NSF label identifies products that contain at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients, but which do not meet the NOP food-focused requirements due to cosmetic industry chemical processes and production methods.   


The NSF mark can be found on millions of consumer, commercial and industrial products, including bottled water, dietary supplements, food equipment, home water treatment products, home appliances, plumbing and faucets, and even pool and spa components. This mark is your assurance that the product came from a company that complies with strict standards and procedures imposed by NSF. From extensive product testing and material analyses to unannounced plant inspections, every aspect of a product's development is thoroughly evaluated before it can earn our certification.


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