organic certifications

Organic, All Natural, and Certified Naturally Grown Food Labels

Sometimes it doesn’t say organic, but it is. Sometimes it says organic, but it’s not. At least not by the definition you’d expect. When it says Certified Naturally Grown, wildcrafted, or organic, what do the labels really mean?

USDA Organic Certification

Unfortunately, some short-lived botanical sprays and a few herbicides and insecticides are sometimes allowed during organic cultivation.

Single-Ingredient Foods

Single ingredient foods are foods that are uncombined with other foods. Think fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs, cheese etc. When these foods are labeled organic, we know the farmer met the USDA standards to achieve certification.

Multi-Ingredient Foods—Organic

Here’s where things get tricky. You’d think if your sausage was labeled organic it would be organic. But there are three USDA organic labels for multi-ingredient or processed foods. Their differences are not obvious at first glance.

100% Organic

This one is self explanatory. All of the ingredients are organic.

Organic or Certified Organic

95-99% of its ingredients by weight are organic. The sausage may be 100% organic, but if the processor could not find organic sausage casings, the casings aren’t. This label allows food processors to use a number of ingredients that are not readily available in organic form.

Made with Organic Ingredients

70-94% of the ingredients must be organic. The organic seal cannot be used on these food items.

Just a bit misleading, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but if I saw something that said it was made with organic ingredients, I’d think it was made with organic ingredients!
Certified Naturally Grown

Certified Naturally Grown is a non-profit, alternative, organic certification program. Nearly 500 farmers from 47 states are members. This group strives to preserve high standards for organic farmers while removing the financial and logistical barriers small


Wildcrafted plants are uncultivated plants gathered from their natural habitat. Care is taken to ensure sustainability, to take no more than the plant can give, the scatter a plant’s seeds, etc. Wildcrafted is superior to organic if picked where there is no runoff from polluted water or contamination from exhaust. Unlike organic produce, wildcrafted produce is never sprayed—with anything. Wildcrafted foods are pure—as nature intended.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards is the founder, owner, editor-in-chief, and janitor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine. At age 17, Michael weighed more than 360 pounds. He suffered from allergies, frequent bouts of illness, and chronic, debilitating insomnia.

Conventional medicine wasn’t working. While he restored his health through alternative medicine he studied natural health and became immersed in it.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

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