When you choose organic, we want you to be confident that everything has been done to ensure organic integrity all the way to your shopping cart. Grocery stores and other retailers who sell organic products are not required by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to be certified organic. We decided to do it anyway, and became the first certified organic national grocer. That means every one of our U.S. stores and distribution centers goes through the USDA-required steps and processes for organic certification.

Organic Certification Requirements

To receive and renew certification, on an annual basis, USDA-accredited third-party agencies audit our stores and facilities for hundreds of specific requirements that fall within these general categories:

  • Organic integrity of sources to verify that organic ingredients are indeed organic
  • Truth in labeling to make sure the food being produced is labeled accurately
  • Prevention of contamination
  • Prevention of co-mingling to ensure that non-organic ingredients don’t mix with organic ingredients
  • Verification that cleaning and pest control procedures do not leave residues or compromise organic integrity

Shopping and Organic Integrity

We do all we can to maintain the organic integrity of the organic products we offer. If you’re interested in continuing that chain of integrity, there are a few things you may want to consider as you shop:

  • Bag your organic produce selection separately from conventional produce prior to placing it on the produce scales, in your shopping basket or onto the register belt.
  • Grind whole organic coffee beans at home since our grinders are used for both conventional and organic coffees.
  • Slice organic bread at home since our bread slicers are used for both conventional and organic loaves.
  • Please be patient when our team members need to clean their equipment before giving you a special cut of organic cheese or meat.

The Official Rules

For the complete and official requirements for organic certification, visit the USDA Organic Rule and National Organic Programexternal site.