In the “crunchy” and “semi-crunchy” world, the “organic” label has a very complicated history. It is certainly important, but many of us have found that it’s not the be-all-end-all of importance, as long as you are an educated consumer. Young Living Essential Oils are not labeled organic, but our standards actually far outweigh what that label means.
What the “Organic” Label Means
According to the USDA Blog: “Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In instances when a grower has to use a synthetic substance to achieve a specific purpose, the substance must first be approved according to criteria that examine its effects on human health and the environment.”
It also states: “a raw or processed agricultural product sold, labeled or represented as ‘organic’ must contain… not less than 95% organically produced raw or processed agricultural products.”
But there are some big problems with this:
- Young Living will not farm on land if it has any farming history for 50 years prior (to ensure completely clean soil), instead of the 3 years for the USDA requirement.
- It still allows for synthetic substances to be used if approved first. Young Living simply does not use synthetic substances.
- To obtain the organic label, 95% must be organically produced raw or processed, but 5% can be synthetic. So having the “certified organic” label does not necessarily mean that it’s the best product out there.
Are Young Living Oils Organic?
Young Living oils are not labeled as being organic, but when you look at the meaning behind organic, you will find that our oils certainly fit the criteria (and more). In fact, our standards go way above and beyond the USDA standards. Our Seed to Seal standards far exceed organic standards. An “organic” certification for all the farms (co-op or company owned) would be a multi-year process and exceedingly expensive. Our standards exceed FDA requirements for that little sticker that doesn’t really mean what people interpret it to mean.
Here’s just one example, the Young Living Farm in Ecuador meets organic certification for American, Ecuadorian, AND European organic
Other Things to Consider
- We have many farms outside the US, so an organic certification isn’t even available for those oils.
- You have to pay for that organic label. If we labeled some of our products with “organic,” it would drive up cost. It’s like going to a farmers market and buying produce from a farmer who doesn’t use chemicals but doesn’t pay for the organic label vs the guy next to him with the USDA organic label. You get the quality product without the government label but don’t have the extra cost.
- Being certified organic means you use FDA certified organic pesticides (which aren’t clean) to keep your organic crops clear. Young Living doesn’t use chemicals on our crops/plants/trees. The oily mixtures we do use as preventatives/pesticides are not recognized by the FDA as a preventative, therefore we cannot seek certification and continue to use our chemical-free options.
- The USDA organic certification is not specific to essential oils, but instead it covers the regulation of produce and agricultural products. There is actually no governing body that regulates essential oils in the United States. In fact, the FDA considers essential oils under the umbrella of “ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source” meaning that plants and synthetically-produced ingredients are categorized the same with the FDA.
- Young Living will source and grow plants where they have the best-suited climate so that they can produce the highest quality oil. This means that some of our oils are grown in other countries which don’t have organic standards (each country has its own rules about organic practices). YL still creates our high quality product with the highest of standards.
What About the OTC Cough Drops and Pain Relief Cream?
First of all, you will notice that I am not claiming that these two products are FDA-approved. They are not. We do not have “FDA-approved” products. The cough drops and pain relief cream have ingredients in ratios that the FDA has pre-approved for medical claims (in the FDA abstracts). That is why we can make claims on each of these products, as we have used our natural options in the pre-approved ratios for Over the Counter products.
Young Living Fun Facts
- Young Living farms employ full-time weed pickers. At any one time, 3-10 workers pick the weeds by hand, since there are no pesticides used anywhere on the farm. Check out Gary Young’s blog to see his standard: http://www.dgaryyoung.com/blog/2013/developing-organic-weed-and-pest-control/
- We have our own organic worm farms on each property. Now that’s something I want to check out when I am there in June!
- In order to avoid environmental pollutants, each farm is far away from major cities.
- Our seeds come from past crops, and they are hand-selected from the top plants from the previous season. No GMO here!
- Every batch of essential oil is tested multiple times in our own labs to ensure quality and safety. The reasoning for this is because we have invested lots and lots of money in having the top-of-the-line testing equipment. No other testing labs can compare to what we have. Yet if needed, we will also send out samples to third-party labs.
- If an oil has certain constituents that do not reach their proper levels, that batch is re-used as the natural pesticide on their farms. We refuse to sell a product that doesn’t meet our rigorous standards, and we accept the monetary loss of this sacrifice happily each year.
- You can go to the farms yourself and see for yourself the Seed to Seal process. I have been twice and cannot wait to go back this upcoming summer.
- Young Living’s promise to families: “Young Living believes that you and your family deserve products that are genuine, free of harmful synthetics, and of unmatched purity. Seed to Seal® is our promise to you that we are committed to providing just that to your family. From the seeds we plant to the moment we seal our bottles, we focus on naturally occurring and high-quality components to provide you with a pristine final product without compromise.” (source: http://www.seedtoseal.com).
Learn More about Seed to Seal
To Read More:
In case you would like to read more about the guidelines for organic labeling, the following information comes from the NSF website:
- Products labeled as “100% organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients and processing aids, excluding water and salt. No other ingredients or additives are permitted.
- Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining ingredients must consist of non-agricultural substances that appear on the NOP National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The full list of substances is available on the USDA NOP website.
- Organic products bearing either of these labels must be grown, handled and processed without the use of pesticides or other synthetic chemicals, irradiation, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or bioengineering. The USDA seal and the seal or mark of the organic certifying agent(s) may appear on product packages and in advertisements.
- The NOP does not have any restrictions regarding the use of other truthful labeling claims such as “no drugs or growth hormones used,” “free range” or “sustainably harvested.” While claims of being gluten-free or kosher may also be on the labels of some organic products, these claims are separate from any claims of organic certification noted on the label.
- Cosmetics, lotions and other personal hygiene products certified for compliance with NSF/ANSI 305 are permitted to bear the NSF “contains organic ingredients” mark confirming compliance with this standard. The product label must also state the exact percentage of organic content on the label.