Watch out guys! Today, in OiB, I intend to ignite to taste buds widely! Oh Yes 😉 Since starting OiB 4 months ago, I love teasing you with one or two mouthwatering recipes of simple yet good food. Eggs, Avocado, rice, quinoa… the list is long. Those same products are also the one I rely on in my daily skin care routine:
I love simple. My kitchen is my Bathroom and vice versa. Yet, a question arises this morning after I drunk my lemon water, scrubed my face with green tea and and my hair with coconut oil, (Yes, a pampering sunday morning):
How, as a ordinary consumer, can I know that my food and skin care ingredient are not only healthy & natural but also ethically processed?
Thats a hard one, isn’t it? The short answer: CERTIFICATION. The longer one? read below 😉
∴ What are Organic Certification for?
I wrote in the past about the difference between “organic” and “nature” and that its all about personal choice. This is where Organic certification comes in, giving me those much desired assurances that what I am consuming is exactly what I expect it to be. Like you, organic products I consume vary in range and include
- Fruits – The good think of living in Malaysia, I am surrounding by exotic and delicious fruits. (Will write a post about my fancy love/hate relation with the local foods here).
I source my products from a range of places such as local Organic markets, shops and direct sales farms where the foods were produced. Having the foods from different sources further enhances my requirement to ensure my foods are organic. This is where certification comes in…
Do you live in Italy, Uk or Bolivia (Hola Boliviano) ? Don’t worry, the table below lists the major state entities.
∴ So, how does it work?
In simple terms Organic certification is a set a rules and regulations that apply to the organic production, labelling and control of something that is going to be classified as an organic product. Organic control bodies licence and regulate organic operators to ensure compliance to a set of standards and that we as a consumer have our requirements of a product being organic met.
Below you will find a brief list of some the processes involved in the production of organic food which may be regulated:
- Production process of organic foods or products
- Importation of organic foods from third countries
- Labelling of organic products
To further enhance the Organic identity of a product, labelling of organic products usually contain a list of ingredients as well as the name of the producer, processor or distributor.
∴ Some Local Involvements
The Organic food production act is what legislates organic food production in the USA.
Historically federal legislation defined three levels of organic foods:
- Products made entirely of certified organic ingredients which could be labelled “100% organic”
- Products with at least 95% organic ingredients which could be labelled “organic”
- A minimum of 70% organic ingredients that could be labelled “organic ingredients”
Similar to the USA, in Europe the term organic is defined by law where rules apply to organic production. Organic control bodies (CBs) license individual organic operators who need to comply with a specific set of standards and meet requirements in order for something to be marketed as organic. Each or all of the activities involved in organic product production require registration with an approved control body.
∴ … and Limitations.
Historic differences between the USA and Europe made it difficult for producers from overseas to get their organic practices recognised accordingly.
Why? Those wanting trade both sides of the Atlantic may have required two lots of certification (one for USA standards and one for European) which also resulted in increased costs. An agreement was recently made between the US and Europe that allowed for European organic certification to be allowed with impunity into the US. Within this is the concurrence that organic standards are fairly equivalent across both markets. The agreement also brought with it a number of others advantages such as:
- Connecting farmers and organisations both sides of the Atlantic
- New opportunities
- Less bureaucracy & costs
- Improvements in transparency on organic products and standards
The most important thing for me and you as consumers of organic products is the increased uniformity between Europe and the US symbolising increased confidence in the recognition of what I can truly believe is an organic food and product.
Furthermore this huge step gives recognition for Organic produce itself and emphasises the importance of Co-operation and relations around the world which ultimately gives you and I the satisfaction as a consumer that we are getting exactly what we want and that is 100% Organic.