What Does 'Organic' Really Mean?

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

Picture yourself walking into a grocery store,heading straight to the produce section, picking up 2 apples that look virtually identical.  The one in your right hand is shiny, red, no bruises, and the one in your right hand virtually the same, maybe a little smaller not quite as shiny but double the price.  The amazing fact that most of us would counter-intuitively choose the more expensive one due to the single fact that it is labelled with one simple but powerful word beside it.  That word is Organic.  The same concept runs true when we are purchasing things online. Quite often we find ourselves adding the word 'organic' to searches, disregarding price and availability spending our hard earned dollars to buy into the 'organic lifestyle'.  What is the actual definition of the word 'Organic' as it relates to the food we put into our bodies and the products we buy?

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

Simply stated  food/produce, meats, fabrics, textiles  and other products labelled as organic are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certified inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.



How do I know if something is organic?

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

The USDA has identified for three categories of labeling organic products:

  • 100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients 
  • Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients 
  • Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) 

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.


What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog
There are numerous organic certification for textiles for various regions around the world.  For example, the 'Global Organic Textile Standard' (GOTS) is recognized as one of the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers.  Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is the prevalent standard in Europe. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria. 

Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers can become GOTS certified. All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. The choice of accessories is limited in accordance with ecological aspects as well. A functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with minimum social criteria. The key criteria of GOTS, its quality assurance system and the principles of the review and revision procedure are summarised in this section.

So what are the advantages of having organic textile?

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

No harmful chemicals applied - As mentioned, organic fabrics do not use pesticides. For people who are sensitive to chemicals and other allergens, organic fabrics have the ability of minimizing allergic reactions. Also, one of the reasons why there are groups that are against the use of pesticides and other chemicals used in crops, is because of the fact that it has the ability to kill birds and other animals. Also, this can trigger the growth of bacteria that are resistant to previous chemicals. Therefore, it disrupts the balance of nature.

In addition to this, chemicals used on the soil can damage the overall chemistry of the land. This means that as time goes by, the land is becoming less and less capable of yielding crops the volume it used to priduce. Thus, farmers will also have to put in more funds and effort in order to get their target yield. With organic fabrics, there were no chemicals used that tilted the balance of the soil. Simply put, it reduces the carbon foot print and energy usage that can be harmful to the earth.

Biodegradable - According to research, in the US alone, around 1.35 billion pounds of trash is generated everyday. It is time that we do our part. With biodegradable materials, these fabrics can deteriorate naturally without any problem.

Durable and comfortable - If you will look at the likes of organic cotton, it offers a good degree of strength and durability. Also, these fabrics are known to be comfortable and smooth. This means that it is perfect to be used for day to day fashion

Antibacterial property - Another reason for you to purchase organic cloth is its antibacterial properties. There are natural and organic fibers that carry this characteristic. Hemp and bamboo for instance are known for their antibacterial properties that can help contain unwanted odor especially during long and tiring days.

One sure way of helping the environment is the promotion of natural and/or organic fibers that don’t disrupt what we have in nature. For most companies, they only go for an organic label without checking their sources. This is a bad practice, as you are not only deceiving consumers, but also run the risk of legal problems in the end. It is highly suggested that you source your raw materials from credible sources that can produce lab results or certifications to prove that you are indeed selling organic material.

How does a farmer go about converting land to organic status? 

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

In the United States, converting land to organic status is a three-year process. There is a two-year conversion process consisting of building up the fertility of the land. Produce grown in the first year cannot be stated as organic. In the second year produce may be stated as “In Conversion”. It is not until the third year that produce may be stated as fully organic. Soil and natural fertility building are important parts of organic farming. 

Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise.

Why does organic cost more?

The truth of the matter is that organic food doesn’t always cost more. Some items, such as coffee, cereal, bread, and even hamburger, may cost the same or even less than their conventional counterparts. And, as the demand for organics continues to grow, the cost will continue to come down. When the cost is higher, consider these facts:

  • Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.
  • The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.
  • Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.
  • Organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms and so do not benefit from the economies of scale that larger growers get.

What Does Organic Really Mean? - Wholesome Linen Blog

Are Wholesome Linen products organic?

According to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, Flax respects the environment and preserves the land. Organic flax cultivation is viable as flax requires no additional water other than rainwater, little to no fertilizer, and is phytosanitary. The Advisory Commission Report to the European Parliament stated that flax cultivation has positive effects on eco-system diversity as it allows for an “environmental pause”. One hectare of flax can retain 3.7 tonnes of CO2 . Not only is growing flax environmentally friendly, but there is no waste when it is processed. Every part of the plant can be utilized. This illustration from the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp shows the many different product possibilities.


Wholesome Linen uses only organic non bleached linen fabrics and raw flax fibers what passed the test on complying with ecological standards Oeko-Tex © Standard 100.

We hope you learned something new & wholesome today. Check out our line of woven flax linen baby and toddler sleep essentials. 



USDA & Organic.Org 

NutriLiving Infographics