To boil it all down, in order to be certified organic, our practices must comply with the following USDA definition (in addition to about 550 pages of specific rules!).
“Organic is a labeling term for food or other agricultural products that have been produced using cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity in accordance with the USDA organic regulations. This means that organic operations must maintain or enhance soil and water quality, while also conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”
– National Organic Program, USDA Agricultural Marketing Services, 2016
Foods labeled as certified organic are grown and processed according to strict federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on allowed natural substances (as well as a limited number of carefully evaluated synthetics from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, permitted for specific purposes after other methods have failed); and physically, mechanically, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. Products labeled as “organic” and “made with organic” are regulated by the National Organic Program (NOP) and certified by an independent third-party USDA-accredited certifier.
To earn organic certification, crop land must be managed in accordance with organic regulations for at least three years, and organic farmers must develop an organic systems plan, which is overseen by their USDA-accredited certification agency with annual, third-party inspections.
At Earthbound Farm, we’re proud to be pioneers in organic produce, which is often where people first start buying organic. It means every choice we make, from how we grow our crops to what we put in our finished products, is carefully considered and consistent with National Organic Program guidelines. Still curious about organic? Visit here and learn more.
Organic Means No GMOs
Organic Means Non-GMO We’re often asked if our Earthbound Farm USDA-certified organic products are “Non-GMO Verified.” It is very important to understand that the use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is expressly prohibited by the USDA’s National Organic Program standards.
This means we can’t plant GMO seeds, nor can we use any GMO ingredients in producing any of our final, packaged products. To meet the USDA organic regulations, we must document that we aren’t using GMOs and that we are protecting our products from contact with prohibited substances from farm to table. Learn more here.