While many suppliers of organic food claim to be so, not all of them are. You must ask what standards they go through in order to make sure their organic food is indeed organic and certified by appropriate regional authorities from relevant regulatory agencies. There are many different certifying agencies that certify organic food. Some of them may even be organizations that you are familiar with. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for example, is one of the leading governmental authorities in the country on organic agriculture.
The USDA ‘iates’ organic food as meaning that it meets specific requirements of the organic agricultural production industry, such as the use of organically grown pesticides and fertilizers and the inspection and sampling of the farms to verify that the above facts are true. However, one of the most important tests of organic food suppliers is the certification of the raw materials. This is a process that uses specialized equipment to test the quality of the produce for any contamination, meaning that only quality control samples will be tested. The test results are then sent to the USDA, who in turn will determine whether or not the produce is safe enough to eat.
It is the jobs of the USDA to conduct these inspections, sampling and tests, and if the results indicate that there might be harmful contaminants in the produce, to inform organic food suppliers so that actions can be taken to clean the supplies before distribution begins. The inspectors and samples are carried out before the wholesale organic vegetables and fruits are shipped to retail stores, or when the produce is being purchased from a wholesaler. There are limitations to the sampling and testing, however. The inspectors are unable to check for contamination of local animals, plants and insects, and cannot check for levels of heavy metals such as lead, or traces of pesticides. Neither can they check for the presence of bacteria, fungi, mold or any other potentially hazardous substance.
The USDA certification and organic food suppliers also perform an environmental analysis on the produce. The inspector checks for contaminants in the soil and in the water runoff from the land, both from the area where the vegetables are grown, as well as from the produce themselves. They check for contamination in fish and poultry that may be used to feed the retail produce. This is important, since the nutritional content of organic food products is more concentrated than those of non-organic foods, which is one reason they cost more. Some organic food suppliers sell their vegetables and fruits at subsidized rates to encourage consumers to purchase organically-grown produce.
Certification of organic foods fruits and vegetables requires that the farmers provide proof that they follow a strict set of guidelines for growing the crops. All of the farmers and processors are required to adhere to strict organic growing and processing methods, and the methods should be documented. A certificate of organic production must be provided to the USDA when the crops are brought in for harvest. Consumers can find out whether or not the organic farming was certified by looking at the USDA seal. If the produce has this seal, it is considered organic. It is also important to remember that fruits and vegetables do not meet the criteria for organic food products unless the farmer has used organic growing and handling methods for at least two years.
With the demands for organic food increasing, there is a strong need for organic food suppliers and farmers. The internet can be a great source of reliable information about these companies, since many of them have websites. Websites provide valuable information for business clients and potential customers to learn about the history of the company, the policies and practices related to organic growing and farming, and contact information for local distributors. By doing a little research and reading unbiased consumer reports, business clients can develop an informed opinion about the various organic food suppliers that are available.