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Organic or Not:
What’s the difference?

“Organic” is a labeling term regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s a valuable marketing tool and can increase margins for human food, animal feed, pet food, and ingredients.

However, the organic label does not mean an ingredient or product is any safer or more nutritious than comparable non-organic or conventional ingredients or products.

Moreover, when “organic” appears on a label, it does not guarantee that the product is legitimately organic. The label of a legitimately organic ingredient or product includes information about its certification as organic, which helps protect the buyer from misuse of the term.

What “certified organic” means

Certification of an ingredient or product as organic can come from one or more of nearly 80 organizations authorized by USDA under the National Organic Plan (NOP). These private businesses, associations, or non-profits can certify products or production methods in four categories — crops, livestock, handling (for processed or multi-ingredient products), and “wild crops” (such as uncultivated mushrooms, pine nuts, etc.).

 

The NOP lists two “certifying agents” headquartered in Ohio:

Global Organic Alliance, Inc. (GOA), which certifies operations in Ohio and 30 other states

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), which certifies operations in 13 states, including Ohio and neighboring states

Certification requires an application detailing the operation and its “Organic System Plan.” In addition processors must submit an “Organic Handling Plan,” which includes a product profile and label for each organic product. Following review of the application, the agent schedules an on-site inspection.

For processing and handling facilities such as feed and pet food manufacturing operations, the inspector evaluates the receiving, processing, and storage areas for organic ingredients and finished products, and assesses potential hazards and contamination risks. If the facility also processes or handles non-organic materials, then the inspector assesses measures to prevent commingling.

USDA also allows different levels of organic labeling, but for products for animals only “100% Organic” and “Organic” (95% organic content) apply.

Why is organic labeling important to D&D?

Ohio ranks number four in the nation for the number of organic dairy farms, with Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York all in the top 10. D&D manufactures vitamin-mineral premixes and supplies many ingredients for certified organic dairy production, which continues to grow nationwide.

For more information:
Progressive Dairy magazine
USDA
U.S. & International overview

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