July 03, 2017 · Written by Foodtolive Team

How Organic Food Production Works in the US

The National Organic Program framework developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) governs organic food production in the US. Only the products that meet USDA’s high standards are officially considered ‘organic’. However, some manufacturers never get to obtaining this certification because of its cost.

As a US consumer who wants to be certain of the quality of their food, one has to understand what the USDA certificate entails. You also need to know what makes products truly organic and how important the label really is.

USDA Approved Organic Food Production

How Organic Food Production Works in the US

USDA organic standards recognize products that were created/grown using a variety of practices that promote ecological balance. They also put a lot of stress on recycling and supporting biodiversity. These products can contain no additives that harm the environment in any way. They also must be cultivated using safe solutions that promote the health of the soil plants come from.

In order to be a truly organic food manufacturer, the business must not only NOT use potentially toxic elements. They have to make a notable contribution to preserving and improving the environment.

Whether it’s a farm or processing facility, a USDA approved organic business has to be proactive in their nature-preserving stance. Note that the actual certification might not come from USDA itself. Organic food production in the US can be certified by a variety of accredited private organizations.

In order to receive this coveted certification, food producers must provide the certification agent with lots of paperwork. The producer will then go through a series of rigorous inspections to verify their practices. These inspections will need to become regular if the producer wants to maintain their certification.

Organic Food Production by Uncertified Farms

How Organic Food Production Works in the US

There is no arguing the fact that USDA certification certainly is a major boon for the business. However, the costs and work involved in obtaining it make this ‘stamp of approval’ an impossible dream for many. Small farmers are the first to suffer because of these regulations. Some businesses importing internationally also fall into this category as USDA doesn’t recognize most foreign certifications.

Does this mean that these products are bad?

No as they can be grown with just as much care (and sometimes even more) than USDA approved businesses provide. A small organic farm is often a family business that has been striving on the quality of its products for generations. When dealing with these products, you have to rely completely on trust. If you trust the sellers on your local farmer’s market, you can definitely save a few dollars by buying there. However, be sure to ask about their practices in great detail.

If dealing with imported goods, you should research foreign organic food production standards. This way, you’ll understand how ‘organic’ they are. You’ll also need to verify that the product hasn’t been tampered with during its transition to the US.

However, if you want to be 100% sure in the US organic food, you should seek USDA certification. This is most relevant when buying grains, nuts, and other products that one wouldn’t usually get from a farmer’s market.

All Food To Live organic products are certified and processed at a USDA approved facility.