What Does it Mean to be Organic?

soapI wrote a post a few years back about what it means to make natural soap. The other part of the equation is “organic” products. While the natural product question can be boiled down to the basic phrase, “there’s no legal definition of natural,” the organics issue is a little more complicated. The most complicated part of the issue is that there are several governing bodies that control “organic” regulations.

USDA National Organic Program:

The USDA National Organic Program is the most well-known of the entities. It has 3 levels of labeling regulations:

100% Organic = all ingredients except water & salt come from ingredients grown organically.
These products can display the USDA Organic Seal on the label.

Organic = 95% of the ingredients except water & salt come from organically grown ingredients.
The other 5% of the ingredients must be on the National List of approved ingredients.

Made With Organic Ingredients = 70% organic ingredients (again, except salt & water).
Cannot display the USDA Organic Seal!

NSF Organic Certification

70% organically-produced ingredients
Some synthetic preservatives & other USDA banned ingredients allowed No petroleum-based products permitted


Organic = 85% organic ingredients
Few other restrictions

Though these are the major companies that are used in the United States, there are other governing bodies native to those over the pond. For example, the Soil Association (U.K.) has a “Organic” level at 95% & a “Made With Organic” at 70% (synthetic & petroleum ingredients allowed). Natrue (European) is similar to Oasis, and Ecocert (France) is the least helpful of them all, certifying as organic products with as low organic content as 10%.

It pays to know more when looking into organic certifications. While Sirona Springs isn’t certified organic by any governing body, we do try to purchase organic and/or sustainably harvested ingredients as often as possible.

Is purchasing organic products important to you? What are some of your favorite organic brands?


4 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to be Organic?

  1. I was really surprised about the French company certifying products containing only 10% organic materials as “organic”. Have you ever come across an organic olive oil that is not extra-virgin? I would love to use an organic olive oil, but don’t like having to compensate for the green cast in extra-virgin. Thanks for the great info, Ruth.

  2. Pingback: Happy November 1st! | P.S. I Love Soap Co. Bloggin' Adventure

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