Articles Monthly Masthead May June
Organic Certification

This has been a decade of improvement and expansion of the amount of organic packaged food available to Good Earth. We have spent significant effort educating food manufacturers about the importance of obtaining organic certification, as well as pushing them to take on the challenge of sourcing organic ingredients for chips, soda and even staple everyday ingredients like rice and beans.

Good Earth is firmly committed to seeking local, organic, whole foods, especially in our packaged goods section. While our mission instructs us that organic is the standard, it has not always been available and remains elusive in some foods.

Products listing individual organic ingredients on their packaging do not go thru the rigorous examination process of a product that is certified organic as a whole. Consumers cannot, therefore be assured those items have not used processing agents, for instance.

The importance of organic certification in processed foods is often underrated and misunderstood. In the conventional food system, there are more than 3000 “Generally Recognized as Safe” ingredients allowed for use to obtain flavors, colors and textures that meet consumer expectations in the US. Some, like FD&C Yellow No. 5 are considered by many consumer groups to be linked to behavioral problems in children.

In the organic system, only 79 non-agricultural minor ingredients are allowed, all of which have been very carefully vetted. When a food manufacturer goes through organic certification, inspectors look to make sure that no prohibited pest control is in use as well as making sure that the company has sufficient controls in place to guarantee that no non-organic products can inadvertently get mixed with the organic.

If a vendor is small and local, we will consider products that have organic ingredients, but are not yet USDA certified organic. We spend time with new food companies, helping them to understand how we can support them as they enter the marketplace and how organic certification helps the overall Good Earth mission of revolutionizing the American food system. Many vendors come to the table without this understanding. They see the economic growth in organic, but sometimes are not educated on the accountability, transparency and the political importance of the organic certification system. We love to have this dialogue.

Without the support of our highly educated customers, Good Earth could not be as proactive about increasing organic availability in packaged foods. Special thanks to our customers who may have heard us apologize for NOT stocking an item they loved because it did not meet our mission standards. We want the world to be organic; thanks for your support.

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