Organic Tea

More and more consumers worldwide are demanding organically grown tea and other food products, and their cry for going “green” is being heard and heeded. Both large tea estates, and small artisanal farms, are turning to organically grown standards for growing their tea.

The rules governing organic tea are tightly controlled, and as with most government rules and regulations, can be quite cumbersome. In short, organic tea is defined as tea that must be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbacides. The crop must rely solely on natural organic matter, such as dung, compost, and plants and trees, which provide necessary nutrients and ground cover.

It needs to be pointed out, that just because a tea is not officially certified as organically grown, it shouldn’t be automatically assumed that it contains unhealthy chemicals and ingredients.

Even though the current rules under which organic tea is grown only date back around ten years, many health conscious tea farmers and estates have grown chemical and pesticide-free tea crops for centuries.

Following age-old agricultural methods and principles passed down by their ancestors and their ancestor’s ancestors, and using secret methods and traditions kept under wraps for centuries, known only by the grower, they have turned out healthy, organically grown tea crops in much the same way as they have for centuries. Held to their own code of ethics, these health conscious growers offer teas that not only benefit the consumer, but also the land, air, and water, doing their part to help protect our planet.

Organic Certification
There are two categories under which organic tea is produced; the first being tea that is certified organic by one of several international agencies. The second is what was just discussed above; tea that has been grown following traditional methods, according to principles of organic growth, but are not officially validated by a certifying agency.

Tea that is labeled “certified organic”, has met the conditions of at least one regulatory or certified agency with established guidelines for organic food production.

For consumers interested in maintaining the long term health of both themselves and the environment, there is a system in place that recognizes the benefits, and high quality and flavor of organically grown tea. Even though the cost of organic tea may be a bit higher, looking at the big picture, it is definitely worth every penny.

Regulatory Organizations-How to Verify the Tea You Are Buying is Organic

United States – In the U.S., organic certification is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the USDA, the agriculture legislation known as USDA National Organic Program, or NOP was developed in the 1990′s and activated in 2002 (look for stamp or logo marked NOP).

Under the National Organic Program (NOP) there are four levels of organic content under certification rules:

1.100% organic
2.95% or more organic
3.70 – 90% organic
4.and less than 70% organic

All organic products must have the appropriate official label of the USDA and FOP.

Along with the NOP, also look for California Certified Organic Farmers, and California Quality Assurance International, two of the larger, easily recognizable organic programs in the U.S..

European Union – Regulation No. 2092/91 – The largest organic marketplace in the world, the European Union was the first to enact governmental legislation in regard to organic production and marketing. This legislation is the basis for production, processing, and trade of all organic products in the 27 countries of the European Union as of 2007.

Originally drafted in 1991, Regulation 2092/91 went into effect in 1992. Since then it has been modified, clarified, and amended, and at over a hundred pages, is the most comprehensive of any country.

Products labeled “organic” must be certified according to Regulation 2092/91 guidelines, and may then be identified with the official label of the European Union.

They recognize only two categories of “certified organic;” one for products that contain at least 95% organic ingredients, and one for products containing at least 70 – 95% organic ingredients.

Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) – In Japan, the Japanese Agricultural Standard regulates the certification of organic products sold in the Japanese market. Certified organic products will be stamped with the JAS organic seal.

Other Organic Regulatory Agencies
This is just a small listing of the many natural agricultural-control agencies worldwide, as well as private and state certified programs.

Some of the better known certifying agencies whose stamps or logos you might see are:

England – The Soil Association – The main organic organization is in the U.K.. The Soil Association symbol is one of the most trusted and recognizable organic marks.
Germany – International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
Switzerland – Institute for Marketecology

Organic tea costs more to produce, so you may notice a slight increase in price, compared to non-organic tea, but it’s a positive step toward living greener for yourself, your family, and your world.

Other articles you might like:

Organic Coffee Vs. Regular Coffee
Starbucks Organic Coffee
Organic Coffee Beans

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