Credentials/Seals - What Matters to Pet Parents and Eco-Friendly Parents of Children

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Credentials and/or Seals - Organic and/or Pesticide Free: Part One

Seven different organic and/or pesticide-free credentials were located in the United States, along with their application procedures and respective seals. Each of these credentials was associated with either a baby or pet product.

"100% Organic"

  • To get a USDA Organic seal for crops and livestock, a product needs to meet three standards: the production did not use excluded practices, such as genetic modification, radiation, or sewage sludge; production did not involve certain prohibited substances; and, production is monitored by a "USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent."

Products with 100% Organic USDA Credential

  • Kaizedo baby shampoo and wash has a 100% Organic credential.
  • Lily's Kitchen canned dog food is 100% Organic.

"Organic"

  • "Organic," also offered by the USDA, designates the product has 95% organic ingredients. The 5%, or less, ingredients that are non-organic agricultural products should not be commercially available as organic, that is, these ingredients do not exist in organic form. The product must also identify organic ingredients with some kind of mark, such as an asterix.
  • Same as the "100% Organic" credentialing, to get the "Organic" credential, the company needs to meet the three standards enumerated above.

Products with "Organic" USDA Credential

  • Tender and True pet food has the Organic (95% Organic ingredients) credential.
  • Gerber has a line of Organic Baby food with the Organic (95% Organic ingredients) credential.

SCS Global Certified Organic

  • SCS Global is a third-party credentialing body, accredited under the USDA. It offers a certified organic seal--all of SCS Global seals feature the Kingfisher.
  • SCS Organic Certification follows the USDA organic labeling guidelines. It also stresses that its products are non-GMO and pesticide free.
  • The certification process information is here.

Products with SCS Organic Certification

SCS Global Pesticide Residue Free Certification

  • SCS Pesticide Residue Free Certification ensures agricultural products have met the FDA guidelines, which detects "five major classes of pesticides . . . including Organophosphates, Organonitrogens, Organochlorines, Pyrethroids, and Carbamates."
  • The application for this credential is here.

Products with SCS Pesticide Residue Free Certification

  • Del Fresco strawberries from Ontario, Canada has this certification.

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Organic Certification

  • To get a CCOF Organic Certification the "organic land must be free of prohibited fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides for at least three years." They follow the USDA certification process. The seal is here.
  • The application for certification is here.

Products with the CCOF Organic Certification

  • Nurture, Inc. which makes baby food has the CCOF certification.

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) Certified Organic

  • The MOFGA Certified Organic process follows the USDA guidelines. The MOFGA seal an application for certification is here.
  • Products that are MOFGA Certified Organic
  • The Jojoba Company, including its Jojoba Baby products, is MOFGA certified.

Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA)

OCIA Organic Certification

OCIA Organic Products

  • Boody, which manufactures baby clothing, has OCIA Organic Certification for its Bamboo yarn.

Research Strategy

The research team first searched for organic certification bodies in the United States. We located the guidelines for the USDA organic labeling. This also helped us identify sources featuring third-party organic and pesticide free credentialing agencies in the United States.

For each credential that we located, we searched for either baby or pet products with the credential that we located.


Part
02
of three
Part
02

Credentials and/or Seals - Organic and/or Pesticide Free: Part Two

Quality Assurance International (QAI), Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), North East Organic Farming Association (NOFA — NY) are some USDA accredited organic certifying bodies. Below are details of the Seven additional organic and/or pesticide-free credentials located in the United States, along with their application procedures.

Quality Assurance International (QAI)

  • QAI is a third party certifying agency accredited by the USDA through the National Organic Program. They provide the USDA Organic Seal and QAI mark on organic products that meet USDA standards through a strict verification process.
  • QAI provides organic certification to dairy and poultry products, retailers, crop and livestock producers among others.
  • There are five stages in the QAI organic certification process. These include application, inspection, review, resolution and certification.
  • The link to the certification process can be found here.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby is an example of a QAI organic certified range of products.

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)

  • WSDA is a USDA accredited organic certification agent. They inspect, verify and certify organic operations to ensure products meet USDA organic standards.
  • The certification process involves an applicant completing and submitting an application package. The application stage also includes an inspection and review process.
  • According to WSDA, the certification process takes an average of three and a half months.
  • The requirements, fees and steps to complete an application can be found here.
  • Bay Baby produce is the manufacturer of WSDA organic certified Bay Baby Products.

North East Organic Farming Association (NOFA — NY)

  • NOFA-NY is an accredited USDA approved agent that provides organic certification for organic operations including dairy produce, livestock, crops, restaurants etc.
  • The certification process is called the Organic System Plan (OSP) and it includes an annual application followed by inspection and compliance review. A certificate is issued based on the applicant meeting USDA standards.
  • Sanglee farms offers variety of fresh organic produce that is NOFA-NY certified such as baby greens.

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

  • OEFFA is accredited by USDA and majorly offers organic certifications seals to approved organic producers in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • The certification process involves an applicant completing and submitting an application. OEFFA reviews the application, conducts site inspection, carry out post reviews and make a final decision on issuance of certificate.
  • Natural Baby Skin Care product by Chagrin Valley is OEFFA — USDA certified.

Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF)

  • Vermont Organic Farmers is a third-party certifying agent accredited by the USDA through the National Organic Program. They provide certification to organic farmers that meet USDA standard requirements.
  • VOF organic certification application process takes about 6-8 weeks. A full description of the certification process can be found here.
  • Vermont Soap is an example of a VOF certified organic baby product.

Quality Certification Service (QCS)

  • QCS is the "certification body of Florida Certified Organic Growers" accredited by the USDA. They provide organic certification in areas such as livestock, manufacturing, farming, processing and handling.
  • QCS certification process differs for each organic operations. Information on each application process can be found here.
  • Kids Multi Gummies by Mykind Organics is QCS certified.

OneCert

  • OneCert is a global organic certifying body accredited by USDA through the National Organic Program.
  • OneCert certification includes a five step process. Applicant completes and submits an application; OneCert reviews the application; Site inspection is conducted; Report of the inspection is reviewed; OneCert makes a decision on applicant's organic certification application.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Organic and Pesticide Free Certified - Importance to Pet Owners and Parents

Parents of young children find labeling to be very important. Clean and organic labeling is extremely important to pet owners as well, especially millennials, as consumers strive to provide the same quality diet to their pets that they partake in. Pet owners actively seek and purchase labeled food products that are organic, non-GMO, and grain-free.

General Insights

Parents

Pets

  • More than 83% of American households purchase organic foods. Shopping organic has become a part of the normal shopping experience, especially millennials, "the largest cohort of pet parents". 81% of families that have kids purchase organic products sometimes.
  • The 2019/2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey revealed that 10% of small and large-dog owners, 12% of medium-dog owners, and 9% of cat owners purchased organic pet food in the last year. Of the organic cat food purchases last year, 5% were baby boomers, 10% were millennials, and 13% were Gen Zers.
  • PetGuard launched the first USDA Certified Organic pet food in 2003, and today 2 of their 7 canned dog foods and 2 of their 16 cat foods are USDA Certified Organic and made with USDA certified organic ingredients.

Importance of Seals and Accreditation

Parents

  • Parents seek organic labels are seeking better health for their family and to reduce their family's exposure to GMOs and growth hormones. Expectant parents also are frequent purchasers of organic foods with as much as one-tenth of pregnant women reporting eating it often, and children that grow up eating organics continue the same habits long-term. These consumers are very likely to be looking for labeled and accredited products.
  • The number of parents seeking to avoid GMOs for their children are increasing and in 2011 rose from 17% to 22% in 2011.
  • Currently, more than 5 in 10 of 18-34 year old parents that purchase organic foods are millennials. Reasons for this are given to be the heightened in light of the greater value they place on knowing where their food is grown and produced and their commitment to supporting food systems that sustains and nurtures the environment.
  • Millennials have the most trust in product labeling to make their purchases, and they make up 52% of all organic label buyers, while Gen X parents make up 35% of organic buyers and total parents that buy organic products. Millennials believe they are knowledgeable about organic products and 54% report having confidence in the integrity of organic labels and 60% report strong connection with the organic label and feel it is an important part of how they do their grocery shopping.

Pets

  • Pet owners look for USDA organic seals on their pet food to ensure they are feeding their pets the same quality of food that they would eat themselves by avoiding dangerous additives and meat by-products. Pet-owners purchase organically certified foods to make sure they are free of synthetic additives like chemicals and pesticides, dyes, and not processed using industrial solvents.
  • Pet owners who have grain-free and organic diets are very likely to look for a label or accreditation before purchasing their pet's food.
  • Millennials seek pet foods that have transparent and green labeling, and most likely to seek products that will enhance the health of their pets like those labeled "organic, holistic, non-GMO, and grain-free". Transparency in the contents and sourcing of pet products is significant for marketers to reach millennial pet owners, the largest group of pet parents. One in three millennials are pet parents.
  • Pet owners who are clean eaters look for pet foods that have the same requirements as their personal foods.
  • More than half of millennials, 55%, will try holistic and natural-branded supplements over conventional pet medications. Pet food brands earn consumer trust, especially those of millennials, by adopting clean label strategies that offer transparency around the ingredients and processing, and have a short list of familiar ingredients.
  • Merrick Pet Carek reveals that "pet owners associate clean ingredients with transparency and sustainability and care as much as how the products are sourced or cared for" beforehand the same they would their own products. The increasing trend of the majority of households buying organic food and influences how people buy food for their pets.

Insights On Purchases Without Seals or Accreditation

Parents Of Small Children

  • Organic does not imply that pesticides were not used, and research has shown that organic fruits and vegetables that tests revealed measurable traces of synthetic and natural pesticides.
  • In one study, 75% of participants stated confusion over the different types of labels, and therefore 81% assumed products complied with "strict quality and safety standards". It is offered that independent third-party verification would help with this issue on a global scale.
  • "Parents have much greater concern over the safety of products they put in, on and around their bodies. 79% of parents are concerned compared to 55% of non-parents. Interestingly, 45% of parents (compared to just 17% of non-parents) admit they have purchased a product despite realizing its claim was invalid."
  • Despite the concern, "almost half (46%) of Americans say they have purchased a product despite being unsure of the validity of product claims."
  • Around 34% of surveyed Americans claim that they "rarely or never" research such claims.

Pets

  • Pet owners would be willing to buy pet foods without an organic seal to fully address their specific pet's nutritional needs.
  • Pet owners purchase pet foods without organic labels because some GMOs are engineered to enhance the growth and nutritional profile of their pets.
  • Millennials are the most likely to purchase conventional pet medications when holistic and natural-branded pet supplements are no longer a viable option, 52% of millennials versus 28% of all other demographics.
  • Consumers will purchase products without labels or accreditation if the manufacturer explains the reasons and benefits for added ingredients. Education through transparent labeling and science can help consumers choose non-labeled pet food products, and 56% of pet parents strongly or somewhat agree they trust formulations that are scientifically backed, and 62% when the scientific basis is relayed by a veterinarian.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
From Part 02
Quotes
  • ""QAI is a USDA-accredited certifying agency, approved to provide certification to the national organic standards, under a federal regulation created by the USDA and administered by the National Organic Program.""
Quotes
  • ""QAI will assign you a dedicated certification project manager to guide through each step of certification.""
Quotes
  • ""EarthMama uses the highest quality oils and QAI certified organic herbs.""
Quotes
  • ""The WSDA Organic Food Program is accredited to certify organic producers, handlers, processors and retailers to the USDA National Organic Standards""
Quotes
  • "NOFA-NY "certify a wide range of organic operations that include: Farm/Producer, Dairy, Livestock, Wild Crops, Maple, Handler, Broker, Processor, Co-packer, Slaughterhouse, Distributor, Restaurant, and Livestock Auction House.""
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "NSF International, an independent public health and safety organization, released a new study showing 61% of Americans are concerned about the products they put in, on and around their bodies. However, 34% say they rarely or never research product claims. Almost half (46%) of Americans say they have purchased a product despite being unsure of the validity of product claims."