What You Need to Know About Organic Products

We constantly hear the word “organic” and see it written on labels in the supermarket or on products we use – but what does it really mean? How are products determined as organic, and can you trust every organic label you see? 

At River Organics, we are passionate about CBD, but not just any kind – the organic kind. We are committed to our organic practices, and believe it’s crucial that you choose USDA certified organic CBD products to ensure the highest quality products for your body, and the environment at large. The same can be said about the food you eat or the body care products you use.

Let’s take a closer look at the meaning behind the word “organic,” how products become certified organic, and the importance of choosing organic products over others.

What Does Organic Mean?

When produce, packaged food, or other products have the “USDA Organic” seal on the label, it refers to the cleanliness and integrity of the farming process as well as all aspects of production.  An organic, or USDA organic product has a clean growing record without the use of pesticides, is free of artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and contains fully organic ingredients.

In other words, if something is organic, it was grown (or contains products that were grown) without the use of:

  • Synthetic fertilizers in the soil
  • Sewage sludge to be used as fertilizer
  • Synthetic pesticides for pest control
  • Ultra-violet rays for preservation or to eliminate disease
  • Genetic modification for disease/pest control or to increase crops

Organic meat products indicate that the livestock and surrounding farms maintain healthy, ethical and environmentally conscious conditions. 

Such practices include:

  • No distribution of hormones or antibiotics to livestock
  • Clean and humane living conditions with ample outdoor access
  • Pasture feeding for 30 percent of grazing season
  • Feeding using organic foods
  • Upkeep on vaccinations

For food and products to be certified as organic, farmers and producers must follow a comprehensive documentation and screening process set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Producers are monitored yearly for every detail of their growing process, such as the source of their seeds, condition of the soil, watering systems, records and tracking, pest management and overall health of crops. They follow strict government standards for the highest manufacturing quality. This thorough, closely monitored process is finalized with a USDA Organic seal on the produce, meat, and products that pass the inspection.  

If Something Says Organic, Is It Really Better?

There is a growing body of research that shows potential health benefits of organic foods compared with conventionally grown foods. While these studies have shown differences in the food, scientists don’t have enough information to draw conclusions about how these differences translate into overall health benefits. So while we’re not clear that organic foods provide significantly more nutrition, when it comes to your body becoming exposed to harmful pesticides, using organic foods and products is definitely a more conscious choice. 

USDA Organic certified products are free of pesticides that possibly carry harmful risks. Exposure to and eating pesticides can potentially lead to Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and issues with fertility or cognitive behavior. Shopping organic is better for your overall health, as it is best to avoid ingesting pesticides as much as possible.

While foods like avocado, sweet corn, cantaloupe, pineapple, broccoli and cabbage don’t typically contain large amounts of pesticides, it is better to choose organic foods that are on the “dirty dozen” list, such as strawberries, spinach, grapes, apples, tomatoes, and celery, as non-organic varieties generally have higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce not on the list. Non-organic meat should be avoided, as livestock that has been treated with various steroids and antibiotics could cause harm to humans.

Organic wellness products, such as skincare products, or any of our USDA Certified Organic CBD tinctures and topicals, are also made free of harmful synthetic ingredients, chemicals, or pesticides. Such products are therefore safer and healthier for your skin and the rest of your body. 

Does Organic Mean It Is 100% Organic?

The USDA Organic, or “Certified Organic,” labeling system has three tiers of certification:

  1.  100% Organic:  In order to label a product "100% Organic," it must contain 100% organic ingredients, and any processing aids used during production must be 100% organic (excluding water and salt). Additionally, in order to make an organic claim, the final product must follow strict production, handling and labeling standards and go through the organic certification process.  

These products can display the USDA Organic seal and/or the logo of the specific organic certifying agency. The USDA Organic seal is a stamp of approval that the farm or business is in compliance with regulations, and you can trust it. 

When one-ingredient foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat are labeled as organic, they can be considered 100% organic.

  1. Organic:  Products can be labeled as "Organic" if at least 95% of the ingredients are organic (excluding water and salt). The remaining 5% must consist of non-agricultural substances, and must be on the USDA approved ingredient list. These products can display the USDA Organic seal and/or the logo of the specific certifying agent.
  1. Made with organic ingredients:  Products can be labeled "Made with Organic Ingredients" if at least 70% organic ingredients are used.  The remaining 30% of the non-organic ingredients must be produced without specifically-excluded methods such as genetically modified organisms (GMO), irradiation, or sewage sludge, and must be approved on the National List. Like every organic product, they must still have a USDA-accredited certifier. These products may display the certifying agent's logo, but not the USDA Organic seal.

This organic labeling system was developed by the USDA. It refers to organic claims and labeling on all food and personal care products in the United States.  

The USDA Organic Logo Label can be used on products that meet the standards of the first two tiers of the organic labeling system in which 95 - 100% of the ingredients are certified organic.

What about products with less than 70% organic ingredients?

Products with less than 70% organic ingredients do not qualify for organic labeling, but can list certified organic ingredients on their label. Essentially, such a product will have organic components, but is not entirely organic or made with entirely organic ingredients. These products will explicitly state those items that are organic in the ingredients list.

What about organic foods that aren’t labeled?

Foods can still be organic, even if they're not labeled as such. Since organic standards require third-party verification, the certification process can be costly. Food companies must consistently provide back-up documentation in order to use the USDA Organic seal. That makes it more challenging for smaller or newer brands that use organic production practices, but don't want to incur the costs of verification.

How Can You Tell If Produce is Organic?

Those loose fruits and vegetables you go shopping for in the supermarket don’t usually come with the USDA certified organic seal, and don’t always have labels with wording on them– so how can you distinguish between organic and non-organic produce? 

Be sure to take a look at the little sticker or band that contains the price look up (PLU) code. There’s two ways to decipher if you’re buying a certified organic product:

  • Organic PLU’s have five digits (conventional produce has four)
  • Organic PLU’s always begin with the number 9

Otherwise, to know if the products you shop for are organic, look for the USDA certified organic seal on the packaging and the specific words used to advertise. Unless the label states “100% organic,” you’ll want to look deeper into the ingredient list and know which ingredients don’t fall under organic. Keep in mind that those non-organic ingredients do not abide by organic processes, and may therefore have been made using harmful substances such as pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, 

Ok, so what does this all mean when it comes to CBD?

Why Choose Organic CBD? 

As a hemp plant, CBD essentially starts out as a natural earth cleanser. Hemp plants are bioaccumulators, meaning that they absorb any materials and substances in the surrounding environment, and do not release any potentially toxic waste back into the environment. Because of this, a hemp plant will take in any toxic substances in the soil in which it was grown, or were used in the farming process, such as herbicides and pesticides. Therefore, it is crucial for you to choose certified organic CBD products. That way, you’ll know that no harmful substances were absorbed in the process and consequently, will not be absorbed by your own body. 

When CBD is certified organic, the production process is monitored by the USDA and the product meets national organic program standards. So, when you choose organic CBD you can rest assured that the products you are using were made responsibly, ethically and in an environmentally conscious manner, free of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

Here at River Organics, we are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of our customers, our community and the planet at large. That is why we are committed to producing only the highest quality certified organic CBD products, hand seeded and harvested without the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides. Discover our premium quality, certified organic CBD products and get started on your journey to health and wellness today.

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