Like other consumable foods, “certified organic” has a very specific meaning. In the United States, the USDA sets the standards for organic foods, and, for many manufacturers, getting that label is very important to them. (A reminder that some of these links are affiliates and we may receive a small commission when you click on them.)
According to the USDA, in order for a product to receive the “Organic” label, they must meet the following requirements:
- Produced without excluded methods, (e.g., genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge). Policy on genetically modified organisms (pdf)
- Produced using allowed substances. View the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
- Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
So you know when you purchase Organic coffee, it has not been genetically engineered, the plant was not fertilized with sewage sludge, and they haven’t used arsenic or strychnine during production.
Free Trade Coffee:
Generally organic coffee is also “Free Trade” coffee which is another important distinction. According to the Fair Trade America organization:
“When you choose Fairtrade coffee, you are supporting coffee farmers around the globe getting a fair deal.
Fairtrade coffee has been produced & traded according to the rigorous, internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards, and every bean can be traced back to the group of small-scale farmers who grew it.
The Fairtrade Minimum Price acts as a safety net when prices drop, giving Fairtrade coffee farmers the security that they will receive a price that covers their average costs of sustainable production. In addition, cooperatives can invest the Fairtrade Premium they earn for each pound of coffee sold on projects that benefit their communities, improve their businesses and protect their environment.”
Drinking coffee every morning that is organic means it is good for you. Drinking coffee that is Fair Trade means it is good for the world!