When it comes to meat, Certified Organic means:
- No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used in the growing of the animals’ feed
- The animals’s feed must be grown on land, which has not been sprayed for a minimum of three years
- No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are permitted in the animals’ feed
- No anti-biotics or growth hormones (implants) fed
- No Animal By-Products are permitted in the animals feed.
- Third party verification and inspection is required by an accredited certifying body
- A thorough audit trail is required to trace all certified organic products back to the farm of origin
- The organic processor (butcher) must maintain and update an organic processing and handling plan
- The farm must monitor soil and water quality at all times
“Certified organic” means that a third party has inspected our product and farm to verify that our products are produced in accordance to organic standards. This involves:
Studying and knowing the organic standards for what is and is not allowed for all aspects of farming, including storage, transport and sale.
- Compliance: farm facilities and production methods must comply with the standards, which may involve modifying facilities, sourcing and changing suppliers, etc.
- Documentation: extensive paperwork is required, detailing farm history and current set-up, and usually including results of soil and water tests.
- Planning: a written annual production plan must be submitted, detailing everything from seed to sale: seed sources, field and crop locations, fertilization and pest control activities, harvest methods, storage locations, etc.
- Inspection: annual on-farm inspections are required, with a physical tour, examination of records, and an oral interview.
- Fee: an annual inspection/certification fee (currently starting at $400 – $2,000/year, in the US and Canada, depending on the agency and amounts of organic products sold).
- Record-keeping: written, day-to-day farming and marketing records, covering all activities, must be available for inspection at any time.
Vale Farms is certified organic by Pacific Agricultural Certification Society (PACS). Certified organic is not the same as “natural”, “antibiotic free”, “free-range” and many other of the clever marketing angles used by non-certified producers. For example, claiming a product is “antibiotic free” is misleading. It may only mean “antibiotic free” for a certain time, such as the last 4 weeks before the animal is slaughtered. In contrast, certified organic practices prohibit the use of antibiotics, period. If an animal does require the use of antibiotics to regain its health, it no longer qualifies as certified organic. The term “organic” without being certified can also be misleading.
Ask questions and find out exactly how your food is grown. Find out whether the products are certified organic and if not ask why. Food fuels your body and you have the right to know exactly what’s in that fuel.