Organic, Certified Organic, USDA Organic? What is the difference?

When I go into the grocery store and look at organic, I find myself debating whether to buy it.  Organic is very expensive!  So, what about herbs?  It can really get quite confused trying to figure out how to get the best herbs and essentials for the best price.  You have to be very careful.  In general, herbal products are not governed by the FDA.  How do you make the best choices at the best prices?

I think it is important to know the difference between organic, certified organic, and USDA organic.  The definition of organic really just describes anything that is natural or related to nature. If you want to get more detailed, organic refers to anything containing carbon.  It is often associated with the word healthy. When you are trying to decide if you need organic herbs, it can get a bit confusing.  Herbs obviously contain carbon! The term “organic”, describes growing something without using artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

The terms certified organic and USDA organic are interchangeable.  The term organic is different than certified organic and USDA organic.  Certified organic is the registered trademark used by the government.  Certified organic means the product has been certified by the government.  The labels may say 100% certified, meaning the product is 100% organic or certified organic.  Organic herbs are grown with fewer pesticides and fertilizer.

FDA, EPA, USDA, can get confusing can’t it!  The FDA monitors drugs, dietary supplements, and food products. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforces rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for specific pesticides, fertilizers, and amounts. The FDA also is responsible for dairy, seafood, produce, bottled water, whole eggs, and packaged food.  USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture.  They govern meat, poultry, and egg products.

You will notice some companies lab test their products.  So, what does that mean.  USDA certification is expensive.  Some companies will test for important materials.  Typically, heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, bacteria, and other pathogens.  Some companies lab tests the “mother plant”.  Meaning the plant is tested.  Some test batches.  What is important to know.  Well, I think it is important to know what you don’t want in your products.  I don’t want pesticides or dangerous fertilizers.  I don’t want heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic, and mercury which could cause problems. What they are testing is anything that can be harmful to us.

Most of us go to a pharmacy for many reasons.  One major pharmacy set out to make sure the supplements they sold went through a third-party testing.  75% didn’t pass the screening because they didn’t meet the claims the label made.  Scary isn’t it. There are some reputable companies testing their products., UL, and U.S. Pharmacopeia are some labs.

What you we, as consumers, need to know?  I don’t want pesticides, yeast, fungi, bacteria, heavy metals, toxins, or anything going into my body that may do more damage than the reason I am taking them.  Lulu’s will only sell certified organic or lab tested products. I guess what is most important to me is making sure what goes into your body is safe.  USDA certified organic or organic with lab testing?  Your choice.


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