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How to Spot Fake “Organic” Products at the Supermarket

When you’re considewoman looking with a magnifying glass in a pan with foodring making the switch to buying and eating organic food, consider all of its benefits. Organic foods are better for your body because they don’t contain any harmful hormones and pesticides which can be ingested by eating them. The production of organic food can help to conserve water, reduce its uses and protect its sources. The carbon footprint is reduced which means that that it can slow climate change. So, if you’ve decided that organic food is right for you, continue reading to understand what it is and become an expert in picking out real versus fake organic products at the supermarket.

What does organic mean?

The Organic label is used on a broad array of food items at the grocery store. It means that the produce was grown without any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), sewage sludge or ionizing radiation. Growth hormones and antibiotics are avoided in animals that produce meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. The USDA is even more specific and specifies that before a product can be labeled as USDA Organic, a US government approved certifier must perform an inspection of the farm where the produce or animals are grown and raised. They make sure that the famer is operating under the rules and regulations set by the USDA organic standards. The companies and facilities that process and handle organic food on its way to supermarkets must also be certified.

How to spot fake organic foods

Unfortunately, a lot of brands use the term loosely so it’s important to understand how to differentiate real organic food from fake organic food in your local supermarket. The USDA recognizes three distinct categories for organic foods. The first is 100% organic. This means that it is completely made up of 100% organic ingredients. The second category is organic. This means that the product is made with at least 95% organic ingredients. The third is “Made with organic ingredients.” This means that 70% of the ingredients are organic and the other 30% of the ingredients are also strictly regulated – no genetically modified organism ingredients. These categories are all certified through the USDA and are guaranteed to be of the highest integrity and quality.

USDA certified organic label

Once you’re well read on what organic actually means, it’s time to learn how to spot fake organic products at the grocery store. Make it a habit to scrutinize your labels. In the Unites States, truly organic foods will have a USDA Organic Seal on them. This means that they have been previously certified by an agent. The label is typically either green or black and will be clearly visible on the product. You can trust this seal because forgeries carry a fine of around $11,000. Not every company who is certified organic uses the seal, but most do, so it still is the most reliable way to know whether the object you’re buying is actually organic. The certification is very expensive though so many small or local farmers who are organic don’t carry the label even though they meet the standards. If you’re unsure, do some research on the particular company and decide for yourself.

PLU codes

Another way to spot fake organic products is to check the PLU code on the back. This is especially important if you aren’t able to locate the USDA organic seal and you’re still curious as to its authenticity. A PLU code will be located on the back, bottom or sides of the product. They are the codes that you use to scan your groceries at the checkout. PLU codes are used to identify products and they are very specific. To determine whether the product is organic by its PLU code, read the number. A number that signifies an organic product will start with a number 9 and a 4 would mean the product is not organic. Be diligent in your search for organic foods and avoid imposters that don’t carry a UDSA certified organic label or a PLU code that begins with a 9.

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