What Does “Organic” Mean On Kratom Products?

We’ve all been shopping in a grocery store and seen the organic section for fruits and vegetables. Often, this leaves you wondering if you should be buying from that aisle even though it is often priced higher.

These days, Kratom fans are seeing organic and fair trade labels pop up on Kratom products more and more. Why are these labels showing up, and what do they even mean? Seeing these labels on Kratom can be confusing for a number of reasons.

Today, learn more about what these labels really mean and why they are being used by some Kratom vendors today. 

What Is Kratom?

For those that aren’t as familiar with the literal roots of Kratom, it’s a good idea to get a grasp of where Kratom products come from before we dive into labeling information.

The Kratom plant itself is a tree. This evergreen tree is part of the same family of trees as coffee plants, and the leaves are packed with rich alkaloids. These chemical compounds are responsible for any potential effects of Kratom.

Traditionally, people in the regions where Kratom grows indigenously have used Kratom as a versatile natural product for a number of purposes. Western medicine studies on Kratom’s effects on the body are still in progress, but a lot of positive findings seem to be underway.

What Are “Organic” Products?

What does the label “organic” mean when it is put on products? 

Most people assume that the label means the product is more natural than other products or that it is completely natural, and that is usually the case. In the United States, though, the way that organic is used in labeling can be very confusing.

There are four different certifications that have been set up by the USDA, also known as the United States Department of Agriculture. These categories have specific rules that must be followed in order to be used on labels in the United States, but the average consumer isn’t always aware of what those rules are.

  • 100% Organic
    Everything that has this label, whether it is a food, herb, or fiber (like cotton) has been created wholly of organic ingredients at every step of the way, including growing conditions, harvesting processes, etc. Each material that it contains or that was applied to the plant or soil (such as fertilizers or pesticides) during its growth must also be USDA-certified, even if bought from another entity. This is the most strict organic label that can be given by the USDA.

  • • USDA Organic
    This certification does not require a product to be completely organic, but it is made of at least 95% organic and non-GMO materials and components. All USDA facilities along the way must be certified and meet the rigorous testing standards of the USDA as well.

  • • Organic
    To get this simpler label, there is no certification required. Instead, facilities must pass an inspection that shows that the foods were not produced with synthetics, artificial additives, or GMO items. This label through the USDA is typically used on foods.

  • • Made With Organic Ingredients
    As opposed to the other labels from the USDA, the standards for this designation are far less strict. Only 70% of the ingredients need to be certified organic in order to achieve this level, and it is much easier for companies to reach this.

Are Organic Products Different From Fair Trade Products?

Yes, organic and fair trade products are different, though some products may be able to earn both distinctions.

Fair trade products are made with the impact that their creation has on social, economic, and environmental factors in mind. For example, companies that want to sell or make fair trade products often must prioritize the following:

  • Compensating workers with fair and equitable pay
  • Ensuring there are safe working conditions for all workers
  • Reducing any environmental impact caused through harvesting and production
  • Following all local and national laws when working internationally

As you can see, anything labeled fair trade is more about the process of creating and distributing the goods while organic labels are focused on what goes into the actual product.

Can Kratom Be Organic or Fair Trade?

Most Kratom products do not contain any certifications on them, particularly not in the United States. In the US, the FDA has not recognized Kratom as an ingredient for human consumption. Instead, it is sold as the botanical plant product that it is. For this reason, reliable Kratom will never be labeled as organic because it is not eligible for this certification process at this time.

Additionally, Kratom is primarily handled and harvested outside of the US, so the USDA’s certification processes aren’t easily implemented or relevant to these processes.

That’s not to say that there aren’t reputable vendors out there doing their part to ensure that Kratom products are as safe and natural as possible. Vendors that support and follow guidance put out by the American Kratom Association, for example, focus on high-quality sourcing, production, packaging, storage, and record-keeping. All of these practices keep Kratom safe and high-quality.

Some Kratom companies have worked to create fair trade practices, but there are not any specific governing bodies in place within the Kratom community to give out specific certifications. By researching specific vendors, you can determine whether or not they are prioritizing the local health, welfare, and economic value of Kratom workers.

Kratom Shopping: Choose Your Products Wisely

One of the most important things that we want to emphasize today is that labeling Kratom products is complicated, and that is unlikely to change in the immediate future. Due to the constantly changing status of Kratom from state to state, the requirements for selling and marketing frequently change, too.

Relying simply on labels like “organic” or “fair trade” to choose your Kratom products is not going to be enough. It’s a good idea to care about whether or not the companies you shop from are supporting the healthy growth of the Kratom industry, but these labels might not be the way to find out that information.

Instead, make sure to research the vendors that you shop from. Not all vendors take the same care in supporting their Kratom farmers, and some suppliers don’t treat the Kratom itself with proper care either. This can lead to tainted products and big issues for customers, so choose who you buy from with care.

If you are looking to keep learning about Kratom and its many interesting facets, consider checking out more posts on our blog. We update frequently to share cool information with readers like you!

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