What Does USDA-Certified Organic Mean?

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Clean Juice is the first USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise in the country. What does that mean? Is being certified organic really better for you? Is it more than just a seal?

Organic produce is healthier, safer, and more sustainable than foods grown in conventional farming practices. Clean Juice only uses USDA-certified organic ingredients. Other juice bars may only use limited organic ingredients or no organic ingredients at all. But our commitment is to the highest quality nutrition possible, which you can only get with certified-organic fruits and vegetables. 

We firmly believe that organic isn’t just a trend, it’s a return to tradition. Pure food, grown as it should be, and improving people’s lives one bite at a time.

Let’s talk farmers

Organic farmers have to go through a rigorous process to become USDA-certified organic. In order to become certified, farms have to prove their produce and farming methods are organic. An inspection may include:

  • Checking out neighboring land
  • Inspecting powerlines and make sure they are not sprayed for weeds
  • Monitoring erosion prevention
  • Inspecting irrigation sources
  • Looking closely at the farmer’s barn, shop, wash station, field equipment, field hours, lumber, seeds, and more.

Organic farming is also healthier for farmers. Fruits & vegetables that are being farmed organically do not use harmful chemicals and pesticides, instead they use organic fertilizers and natural pest deterrents. Their work can thrive without putting their health and the health of their communities at risk!

Let’s talk logistics
Farming without the harsh pesticides- how does that work? Farmers typically use three lines of defense against pests and disease:

  • The first line of defense is managing weeds, insects, and diseases by having a well-designed and healthy organic system that will naturally have fewer pest problems (through crop rotation, intercropping, and resistant varieties).
  • The second line of defense is to use mechanical and physical practices (like burning crop residues, mulching, or introducing insect predators) and non-synthetic and natural materials.
  • The final line of defense against pest control if all other options are in-effective is to use biologicals and botanicals to control pests. Botanicals are derived from plants that contain unique bug-repelling properties and biologicals are animal properties like pheromones that naturally deter pests.

Let’s talk environment

The chemicals involved in conventional farming practices usually end up eliminating important complementary species from farms, throwing off the balance of the local ecosystem. Chemicals and harmful pesticides can also leech into the soil and water, contaminating plant, and animal life. Organic methods are good for biodiversity, ecosystems, and the environment — and choosing organic means supporting these alternative means of production!

Organic agriculture has been based on the principle of sustainability since its beginning.This means that many farmers add organic matter & soil microbes that will naturally increase over time and create rich healthy soil that will help their crops better fight off drought, diseases, and insects. Happy soil = no need for harmful pesticides!

Let’s talk health
Choosing organic means that you are exposed to less harmful pesticides than in a conventional diet. Studies have linked pesticides to a variety of negative health problems (headaches, cancer, birth defects, and more) and a report by the National Academy of Sciences shows that even low-level pesticide exposure can still be significantly toxic to children.

Did you know that organic food may also have a higher nutrient content than conventional food?

With no harmful pesticides and fertilizers, plants boost their production of phytochemicals that strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds. Why do we phytochemicals? Because they are the vitamins & antioxidants that our body needs!

Here are some of the top benefits of organic food for your health:

  1. Reduced exposure to synthetic pesticides:  Non-organic food undergoes multiple rounds of pesticide application to kill pests and parasites that would otherwise damage the food. One of the most common commercial pesticides, glyphosate (known by the brand name, Roundup) is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a probable human carcinogen. Experts warn that over time, repeated exposure to pesticides can lead to certain types of cancer.Even after washing food, there’s still a risk of ingesting leftover pesticide residue and of the chemicals themselves affecting the integrity of the food. Over time, this exposure to pesticides may slowly erode our health and prevent us from getting the fullest nutrition we require. Eating organic foods and drinking organic fruits and vegetables reduces or eliminates this risk. Certified-organic foods don’t have any synthetic pesticides applied to them—only natural pest-prevention measures that are organic-approved. 
  2. Increased antioxidant levels: Antioxidants from food sources help to reverse the effects of oxidative stress, which causes cellular damage and speeds up the aging process. Eating foods rich in antioxidants is one of the best ways to help protect your body. Research has found that organic farming practices preserve the concentration of antioxidants in crops compared to non-organic farming practices. A 2017 study concluded that organic onions had higher concentrations of antioxidants than non-organic onions (likely due to better soil management practices in organic farming compared to non-organic farming). Now we don’t use onions in our cold-pressed juices, but we do use organic produce that has these same organic farming practices! Antioxidant-rich ingredients are a fundamental component of our cold-pressed juices. Because all our juices are made from certified-organic ingredients, you can rest assured that you’re getting the highest concentration of antioxidant nutrients possible from all of our cold-pressed juices, cleanses, or any menu item. 
  3. Minimized heavy metal poisoning: Non-organic foods put consumers at risk of heavy metal poisoning. When we eat plants and other crops that contain heavy metals, we can absorb them into our bodies where they accumulate in our livers and kidneys. In 2014, the British Journal of Nutrition published a meta-analysis that looked at nearly 20 years’ worth of studies on organic foods and found that organic foods had 48% less cadmium (toxic heavy metal) concentration than non-organic foods. This is important because reducing our exposure to heavy metals as much as possible is essential for lowering and preventing toxicity in your body. By eating certified-organic foods, you can take steps to prevent heavy metal accumulation and protect your long-term health. Bye bye toxins!