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Can I trust organic labels on food from foreign countries?

By June 30, 2014 - 9:11am
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Recently I have started noticing organic products from abroad showing up in local grocery stores. Can I trust the organic label on foreign products? How does the FDA determine foreign food products are organic or not ?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Lindsay

What a great question - thank you! 

The short answer is: you cannot be fully sure. 

The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has many trade and quality agreements internationally. But this does not mean that everything organic is actually organic, whether imported or home grown. Home grown organics do have to follow rather stringent rules but they are flouted by some companies. 

Internationally, what is legally allowed in food in some countries, is not allowed in the US and vice versa. Sometimes it even comes down to an honors system. There has been controversy about ingredients from China - some of their organic foods have come under scrutiny. 

There is no way to know if an international product is fully organic. 

Your best bet is to stick to locally grown produce - local farmers with well-known reputations for organic produce are a far better option. 

I wish I had a way that you would know exactly what you are buying organically, from international sources, but  there is no way to do this currently. 



July 1, 2014 - 10:52am
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