Lots of Little Things are a Big Deal

wheat field, fresh crop of wheat

For many of us, organic is a big deal. What makes it a big deal are a lot of little things.

That hits home for me when I drop in at a meeting of the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The NOSB is a citizen panel that was created under the legislation that authorized national organic standards 25 years ago. The 15 volunteers serving on the board represent various segments of the organic community; farmers, retailers, consumers, environmentalists and scientists.

They are meeting in California this week, and no one would ever accuse the process as being secretive. As the board deliberates the issues, roughly 200 stakeholders in the audience follow the discussion. Nearly half of the four-day meeting agenda is devoted to public testimony.

On some matters, the NOSB input to the USDA is simply advisory. On other matters, the USDA is bound to follow the board’s recommendations.

And that’s where the little things come in.

This week, the NOSB is working through a list of 217 materials—substances—that are currently allowed to be used by organic farmers, and by organic food manufacturers. Should organic farmers continue to be allowed to use diatomaceous earth to control insects? Should dried orange pulp continue to be allowed as a food coloring material? These are all items being weighed by these 15 volunteers.

Little things, to be sure. But food is made up of lots of little things. And the work being done by the 15 volunteers meeting in California this week assure that that those little things are compatible with the principals of organic food and farming.

That little round seal on the front label of most organic foods is a little thing, too. What it represents is a very, very big deal.

Our Wild Oats bloggers are partners who love to share their passion and knowledge about better living! While we compensate them for being a part of this vibrant community, their views and opinions are their own and do not signify Wild Oats' opinions, endorsement or recommendations. Wild Oats reserves the right to moderate and remove comments that are off-topic or inappropriate, so please help us keep this community clean, fun and valuable!

11 Responses to Lots of Little Things are a Big Deal

  1. cartonofjuice says:

    you all are doing a good work. I only discovered Wild Oats at a local market just back in February 2015. It was a jar of your awesome peanut butter! My fave is the one with honey in it. Looking for more of your products and, yes, they are reasonable sales prices. Keep it up, please! It feels good to include your products in our diet that we can feel confident of their authenticity.

  2. jim says:

    recently purchased a 1 lb bag of your organic flaxseed.upc4873700223. we were surprised to find that half the flaxseed looked much darker than we are used to seeing.Im not sure if it was overprocessed but it appears darker than what we are used to seeing. Couls there have been a manufacturing issue? Can we get a refund for our troubles?
    regular consumers

    lot2v10-200415-1-1 best by april 28,16

  3. Barbara Januszkiewicz says:

    Where do your products come from, specifically the Tumeric?

    • Dave Carter says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Sourcing from U.S. farmers is always our first choice, but many spices are only grown in other countries. Our tumeric all comes from India and Indonesia. I hope this answers your question.

      Oatie

      • Levi says:

        Could it be that this company will still use oraginc ingredients without being certified? There are several small farms where I am from that use higher standards than required for oraginc certification but cannot afford to be certified.

        • Dave Carter says:

          Companies can use organic ingredients without being certified, but they cannot market the product as organic. And product marketed as organic must contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients, excluding water and salt. The other 5% must be certified organic ingredients, unless organic ingredients are not available. In all cases, the other 5% ingredients must be on what is known as The National List of approved materials. This National list is overseen by the USDA National organic Standards Board. Companies that do not comply with the regulations can be fined up to $11,000 per violation (each store in which the product is sold can be considered a separate violation), and they can lose their organic certification. The only exemption to being certified organic is for farms selling less than $5,000 of organic products per year.

          I hope this information is helpful.

          Oatie

  4. Jenni mullis says:

    Are online orders possible?

  5. Jacqueline.Gammon says:

    I love your product but the Walmart at 28273 no longer carries it. Where else can I buy it?

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