Organic Certification vs. Wild Harvesting: What to Know | Wellnesse

Organic Certification vs. Wild Harvesting: What to Know

Shopping organic has become so popular that when people don’t see an organic label, they may become skeptical or distrust the product and/or brand. We understand why. Calling a product organic typically implies that it was grown naturally, without using chemicals, toxins, or artificial ingredients. So, it makes sense that organic products are often just assumed to be the best option.

However, it’s important we understand that organic labeling is by no means the only way to ensure the food and products we purchase are safe for our families. One of our favorite alternatives is wild harvesting. Wild harvesting is an ethical, sustainable sourcing method that allows for foods and ingredients to be harvested responsibly, within their natural environments, and, often, in their purest forms.


Organic Certification Explained

Organic certification is a federally-regulated status that ensures that a brand meets the government’s standards for things like additives, weed and pest prevention, animal treatment, and soil quality. The organic label is meant to assure consumers that a specific product is free from additives and synthetic ingredients we don’t want to put in our bodies. For this reason, many of us have learned to keep an eye out for organic labels in the grocery store- and to prefer labeled products when we find them.

The safeguards this certification offers are great in theory, but one of the first things we should know is that not all clean ingredients are certified organic, and not all certified products are as clean as you think. The USDA handles all things organic, and while they have a long list of requirements and standards that applying brands must meet, their rules are not without loopholes.

For example, the USDA forbids the use of most synthetic substances (like pesticides and fertilizers) for organic products, but it does not forbid them all. Certified organic products must also be grown on a farm or plantation so that all the environmental and procedural data are trackable.

Another factor that many families aren’t aware of is that organic certification doesn't touch on the overall product nutrition, labor laws, or the treatment of animals. So while organic certification may make you feel better about not ingesting (most) chemicals and pesticides, there is no guarantee that these products meet your other standards regarding fair labor and animal cruelty. 

On a different note, for many brands, organic certification is just too expensive! On top of the costs that come with the application process, companies also have to cover regular renewal costs. For example, if a brand doesn’t meet the USDA’s soil standards at the time of its application, it has to adopt the USDA’s required practices for three years before applying again. That’s three years of increased production expense without any of the added revenue that certification can produce. 

Another fun fact? Businesses have to make a gross of at least $5,000 in organic sales annually to even qualify for application, which automatically puts small businesses at a disadvantage.

This process may work for some companies, but we wanted to find a different solution for Wellnesse. That’s why we chose wild harvesting.

Why Wild Harvesting?

Many Wellnesse ingredients are wild harvested. This means that we gather our ingredients where they grow wildly in their native ecosystem, rather than where they are mass-produced on a farm or plantation. In many parts of the world, this process really is as simple as harvesters hand-collecting the product directly from nature.

The areas where these ingredients grow have experienced little to no human interference, meaning that the foods and herbs growing there often are natural and organic; they just aren’t eligible for federal certification. The lack of human interference that disqualifies these ingredients for certification is exactly what makes them so pure.

Many of you are interested to know if our products are made 100% in the USA. The answer is that many of our ingredients are sourced globally, and there’s a great reason why! Though certain components of our formulas can be grown organically within the United States, sourcing them overseas means we can obtain them from their native ecosystem in a much purer form. Why try to recreate a suitable growing environment when the perfect one has already been provided by nature?

In addition to our complete confidence in our harvesters, we have every batch of raw ingredients tested for chemicals, pesticides, and other synthetic compounds. No ingredient makes it into our formulas without passing our rigorous quality testing.

Another reason we fell in love with wild harvesting is because, at Wellnesse, our concerns go far beyond ingredients. We also prioritize ethical practices and sustainability, and those principles reach into every aspect of our company, including how we obtain our ingredients.

Certified organic ingredients must be grown on a farm or plantation where they can be isolated from prohibited substances. While that environment allows for the satisfaction of USDA requirements, there is no way for us to know about the other factors involved, like how the workers are treated.

With wild harvesting, we can ensure that all our procedures reflect our dedication to clean, effective personal care products as well as our mission to create an ethical, sustainable future for our families.

What We Want You to Know

For a few years now, many have viewed organic labeling as the gold standard for clean products. And we are here to say it isn't the only option when it comes to the safety of ingredients and products! It’s undeniable that organic certification provides a level of safety that can help us feel confident in the ingredients we bring into our homes, but it doesn’t cover everything; more importantly, it isn’t the only way.

The natural, untouched growth that produces wild-harvested foods and herbs ensures a purity that makes our ingredients just as safe (if not safer) than those that receive certification through methodical human processes.

At the end of the day, the best way to ensure any product or brand meets your personal standards is to do your research. Do a deep dive into what a brand believes, learn about their mission (you can read about our values here!), and ask questions. Most brands who are truly dedicated to clean products and sustainable practices will be happy to hear from you. We know we are!


Resources:

https://www.sekaya.com.ph/press-release/organic-certification-and-wild-plant-harvesting/

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-much-does-organic-certification-cost-2538018

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-what-usda-organic-label-means

https://medium.com/foodshed-io/unearthing-organics-what-the-certification-really-means-and-why-it-makes-sense-for-some-farms-and-cdaa5c2f89a3 

https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/the-wellness-mama-podcast-28101/episodes/494-emily-blain-on-whats-wrong-104122763 

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