Certification Madness

People want products that they feel good about. This means free of chemical residues; free of unhealthy ingredients; and produced by companies that treat their workers and the environment with high ethical standards.

The system currently used to demonstrate these great qualities consists of becoming certified, in not just one, but multiple areas. Unfortunately, this noble idea has devolved into a maze of competing certifications, marketed as brands. This dilutes the significance of each certification; encourages gaming of the system; is biased against smaller producers; and is confusing to consumers.

Take USDA Organic certification for example. This requires finding a certified certifying company in the country of origin and hiring it to inspect the production. To expect that small rural farmers in the Tropical South, who could never afford the offending chemicals in the first place, and who have never even been on an airplane, to pay for hotels, airfare, per diem, and certification fees to a multinational company is totally unrealistic. Not just that, but it is possible to clearcut forests, damage the soil, exploit workers, and still be certified organic. Then get a Fair Trade certification, Rainforest Certification, Bird Certification, Bat Certification -, where does it end?

The point is, for smaller farms or newly starting farms this process is unaffordable and out of reach. For Eco-Ola each time we want to add a new farmer to the family, we would have to repeat the entire certification process, which for a small amount of additional production is cost prohibitive. Thus, the current certification process prevents from reaching the market the products produced by the very practices and farmers the consumer wants to support.

This post in no ways intends to minimize the contributions of the organic pioneers and the awareness they created. Despite this progress, we understand that there are companies who buy regulations and sell pollution, and consumers must have a way of protecting themselves. The current system needs reform.

As of yet, Eco Ola isn’t certified, but we’ve made a promise to go beyond organic standards for all our products like Sacha Inchi. We’ve made every step of our farming practices visible to the public on our site, so as to let our customers see the sources where their Sacha Inchi food is coming from. We want people to know that our products are the real deal, grown and processed with the highest environmental and ethical standards. Delicious, Healthy, and Done Right.  Go Sacha Inchi!

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