By Bri Durante
So, what does it really mean to be USDA Certified Organic? Before I started working with Honey Girl Organics, I always wondered the same thing!
The most important factor is sourcing ingredients that are Certified Organic. Each of our organic suppliers must provide us with their Organic Certification each year. Just as our certification must be updated each year, so does our suppliers. Each supplier will have their own set of standards to be considered organic based on the product they are certifying.
For example, for honey to be considered organic, the bees must be kept in an area free from pesticides, GMOs (genetically modified crops), and synthetic chemicals. Beekeepers must be sure the 5 miles surrounding all sides of the colonies are free of chemicals or any farming that uses pesticides. This ensures that no chemicals can get in the flowers the bees are pollenating, and results in delicious organic honey and other organic bee products!
Once a year, a Certifying Agent flies out to inspect the Honey Girl Organics facility where they evaluate the receiving, processing, and storage areas we use for our organic ingredients and finished products. They will make sure our facility is clean, ingredients have proper labels and storage, and our employees are following proper health and safety measures.
After certifying that our facilities are properly maintained, the certifier will double check our bookkeeping. We maintain consistency of our products by following the same recipe every time. Then we determine the exact amount of each ingredient in one container of product. We work with our certifier to prove that the amount we make accounts for all the ingredients we use. This time-consuming process ensures that our products only contain what they are supposed to.
In addition to this yearly check-in, throughout the year we are uploading our labels, ingredient certificates, and other important documents for review. We provide as much information as possible to prove that our products are truly organic. If any labels we upload are inaccurate, we must redo them and upload the correct version before we can get our certificate.
Committing to maintaining USDA Organic Certification is time consuming and laborious. This is why many other companies resort to green washing, the term coined for when a company markets their company as environmentally sound, when it is not. This can be done by using green packaging, images of plants, and even the use of words like “natural” and “organic”.
Amidst a culture of green washing, buying USDA Certified Organic products is the only way to be sure what you consume is truly free of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Since companies can legally use the word “organic” on their packaging even if it’s not certified, make sure you look for the USDA Organic label and the certifying agency.
We believe that what you put on your skin is just as important as the food you put in your body. That’s why we are committed to maintaining our USDA Organic Certification year after year. You deserve to know what is in the products you consume, and here at Honey Girl, we promise to provide you with nature’s best, that you can always trust.