Friday, May 25, 2012

Moringa Organic Certificates-What Does it Mean in Reality

Hi Friends,



I get calls everyday on this question. Consumers think that having an organic certificate is a guarantee the product is safe and worth the extra money the organic product costs. You need to read this article so you know the facts about the food or Moringa you are buying.

So Many Labels.....do you know what they mean?

The terms "100 percent organic'.......'organic or made from organic (specified ingredients or food group)" or "certified organic"  must have gone through an organic application process.  Those terms should not be expressed in ads or on labels unless they have been approved. Often companies throw out these terms to their customers but are not acting legally to do so. 

These rules below are only a few of the hundreds involved:  

1) A description of practices and procedures to be performed and maintained, including the frequency with which they will be performed;

(2) A list of each substance to be used as a production or handling input, indicating its composition, source, location(s) where it will be used, and documentation of commercial availability, as applicable;

(3) A description of the monitoring practices and procedures to be performed and maintained, including the frequency with which they will be performed, to verify that the plan is effectively implemented;

(4) A description of the record keeping system implemented to comply with the requirements established in §205.103;

(5) A description of the management practices and physical barriers established to prevent commingling of organic and non-organic products on a split operation and to prevent contact of organic production and handling operations and products with prohibited substances; and

(6) Additional information deemed necessary by the certifying agent to evaluate compliance with the regulations.

(b) A producer may substitute a plan prepared to meet the requirements of another Federal, State, or local government regulatory program for the organic system plan: Provided, That, the submitted plan meets all the requirements of this subpart.

Organic certifications cost thousands of dollars, involve months and months of paperwork and red tape.  It is out of reach of most small companies to do that.  The paperwork on a daily basis to keep up that certificate is enough to give you a brain seizure.  Many companies grow their vegetables and trees organically but do not have the money to go through the process. They are organic but cannot state that on their products.

What is involved in getting an organic certificate?  The National Organic program states that organic crops must be grown on a field, free from pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer for three years proceeding your growing your organic crops there.  So you must start the process several years in advance.  If your land has been used for commercial crops before you bought it, the soil will be contaminated with chemicals and commercial fertilizer.

The cost of a certificate itself is from $750.00 on up into thousands. It depends on the size of your farm, what you raise, and many other factors.

An organic farm that brings in $5,000 a year or less from sales of organic agricultural products is exempt from organic certification

You must go through an application process that may take months and get certified by the National Organic Program or NOP.

Next you will get an inspection to see your farm, its production equipment, and records. If he finds problems, you will be given a list of those issues, and a time frame to fix them.  Then there will be another inspection to see if you are in compliance. 

A few requirements ( there are pages more)  for being organic: This is from their website below:

  • National Organic Program Standards requires every single farm, ranch or handling operation seeking organic certification to submit an initial organic system plan (OSP).

    The OSP is a general management plan of an organic production or handling operation. The plan should include all aspects of the various organic handling and production methods that will be used by the operation. For example, growing practices, animal management, record-keeping policies and more are covered by the OSP.

    After becoming certified the organic farm, ranch or handling operation must submit an updated OSP annually. Additionally, OSP updates must be provided whenever operational changes are made.

    Organic Status Requirements in India. 
     
    In India, the company is initially inspected. Their fields, water source, soil, equipment are all examined. This is only performed once a year unless they have reason to do otherwise. They perform additional inspections if there are complaints.  So on the inspection all is great.

    What happens the rest of the year on these requirements?

    There is a lot of room for cheating with fertilizer, with chemicals, with the cleaning steps. Just because you put on your records that these steps were done, does not mean they were done all the time. Records are easy to falsify. 

    Does an organic certificate mean my food is pure and safe to eat? 
     One organic company I received samples from failed the FDA tests for dirt, mouse parts, and insect parts. They flagged the samples because of improper labels.

    What if the labels had been correct? 

    They probably would have sent them through. I would have been trying on myself and family, Moringa with mouse parts and insect parts. Only a microscope can see this. This was all ground up in the powder.  Each shipment may or may not be quality stuff.

    Should I only buy organic?

    Just because a company is not organic, does not mean it is not a high quality product. You need to know how the product is grown, picked, dried, ground,  and packaged to have any idea on its quality. Ask the company these questions. Ask, Ask, Ask!  

    The real truth is that a company that is not organic may be as good or better than one who is organic. It gets down to the owner, his ethics and business standards.  Organic is not a guarantee. It does let you know certain steps have been taken on that food. It does tell you that owner is being watched even if only once or twice a year. It gives you some indication of their standards.

    Next blog will be on the term, Wildcrafted and grown organically

    All for now Kate Freer, The herbladyisin

    I do have seeds for sale here folks



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