What Does USDA Organic Mean?
When going grocery shopping, you’re likely to run across a multitude of brands to choose from for every product you want. Undoubtedly, it can be an overwhelming experience when trying to decide which items are the best to purchase.
That’s why the good folks at Baked Smart Cookie want to give you some pointers for picking the healthiest option ー and USDA organic is definitely the way to go.
You may be wondering, “What exactly does USDA Organic mean?”
Unfortunately, organic foods have gotten a bit of a bad rap for being expensive. But that’s far from the truth. Organic foods are simply healthier versions of various products, made following certain guidelines that work to ensure the foods are always freshest, healthiest, and least processed. Typically, USDA organic foods include a bevy of agricultural products that have to be farmed following certain federally approved methods.
Companies must follow strict and specific requirements companies during the production, handling, and labeling processes in order to achieve organic certification. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration for certification include:
- Soil quality
- Animal raising practices
- Pest and weed control practices
- Use of additives
- Farming practices
- And more!
Meat Production Practices
When it comes to producing what is known as organic meat, companies must work to ensure that the living environments of any livestock is similar to what they would experience naturally. This means that livestock must graze naturally in pastures, be fed 100% organic feed, not given antibiotics and/or hormones, as well as a number of other practices meant to create a product that is free from the unhealthy processing of other mass-produced foods.
Packaged Product Practices
When it comes to multi-ingredient products that are packaged and labeled with messaging along the lines of, “made with organic fruits and vegetables,” this implies that at least 70 percent of the final product is organically certified.
However, it’s worth noting that even the remaining “30 percent” of the product must meet certain criteria and cannot be made using prohibited practices, such as genetic engineering. Ultimately, organic packaged products are healthier versions of the “big name” products you are likely to come across.
Fresh Product Practices
Organic producers focus on using traditional based farming techniques to create their products, meaning they DO NOT do what mass farming companies do. Additionally, organic producers focus on developing their products without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can end up in the final product.
As previously mentioned, soil quality is another critical factor. Organic farmers cannot plant and grow any products on land that was previously used for other crops that had prohibited substances applied on them.
All manufactured and produced organic products must be first verified by a USDA-accredited agent before they receive a “USDA Organic” label. Labeling categories used for organic products include:
- 100 percent organic: products are made of 100 percent certified organic ingredients.
- Organic: product is certified as organic but no less than 5 percent of the total ingredients may contain non-organic content.
- Made with organic ingredients: this is for multi-ingredient products and at least 70 percent of the product must have certified organic ingredients. 30 percent is not required to be organically produced.
- Specific organic ingredients: multi-ingredient products with less than 70 percent certified organic content would be under this category and don’t need to be certified. These products can’t use or display the “USDA Organic” seal or use the word organic at all.
Understanding your food, where it comes from, and how it is produced can help you make better-informed decisions for you and your family. If you would like to learn more about how organic labeling works, you can visit the U.S Department of Agriculture website.
Baked Smart Cookie Is Organic
We here at Baked Smart Cookie proudly serve “USDA Organic” cookies. Additionally, our scrumptious treats are non-GMO, vegan, soy-free, and peanut-free. The best part is that each of our cookies contains ½ cup of fruit and vegetables.
We value the importance of eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. We believe that this shouldn’t be impossible for anyone to maintain or achieve, no matter the type of lifestyle they have. Whether it's for the active child who plays numerous sports, or the wonder mom taking care of everyone in the family, there is something our healthy cookie can offer to everyone.
That is pure sweetness if you ask us!
Place an order with us at Baked Smart Cookie and enjoy our guilt-free and kid-approved cookies today.