What does USDA Organic tea mean?

To understand the concept of organic foods, it is important to know that the USDA defines organic foods as those that are produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. In simpler terms, organic foods must use minimal chemicals during the growing process and the soil they are grown in must be free of these chemicals. However, due to financial constraints, most farmers in tea-growing regions are unable to let their fields lie fallow for long periods of time, making it difficult for most tea to be certified as "organic".

While organic certification has real environmental value, it is not primarily focused on the quality of the tea and does not come with guarantees. Organic certification only controls the inputs and process of production and does not involve any testing or verification of the final product. Additionally, organic certification does not guarantee that there are no environmental pollutants or contaminants during processing or packaging. It is important to purchase from growers, distributors, and retailers that you trust, regardless of the certification.

Obtaining organic certification is a complex process as there are hundreds of different agencies worldwide that certify products as organic. Each agency has different standards and some certifications are accepted in certain countries but not others. For example, some products considered organic by the European organic association may not be considered organic by the USDA. Due to these complexities, it is natural to be skeptical of a tea company that boasts a foreign "organic" certification. However, it is also important to note that there is no significant scientific evidence showing that non-organic tea is dangerous to consume. Furthermore, due to the bureaucratic complexities of certifications and the small size of most premium tea producers, many teas that would qualify as organic are never formally certified.