Industry News | February 15, 2006

Organic to Go Receives Organic Certification

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Organic to Go(TM) (O to Go) an all-natural and organic cafe and corporate meal delivery service, is the first fast-casual restaurant and retailer to receive organic certification by Quality Assurance International (QAI), the leading third-party certification agency in the organic foods industry accredited to the National Organic Program by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

QAI has certified brand name retailers such as, Lund's Byerly, Cub Foods, Native Sun, Sunflower Market, Capers Wild Oats and Whole Foods Markets.

"Receiving certification assures our customer that our organic products are free from harmful additives and preservatives," says Jason Brown, CEO of Organic to Go. "From farm to desk, our products are guaranteed to be of the highest quality without compromise."

Since the USDA began regulating the organic foods industry in 2002, independent third party certification of organic food systems has been the quality assurance foundation of domestic and international organic food trade. Obtaining certification by a third-party affiliate guarantees the promise of the organic claim.

"Organic certification is the cornerstone in ensuring that the organic integrity has been maintained through every link of the supply chain. Establishing an organic compliance plan is step one in this process," says QAI spokesperson, Ellen Holton. "Operators must develop proper sanitation and pest management protocols as well as implement a comprehensive audit trail as part of their organic compliance plan. For the retail establishment, staff training and clear in-store signage also need to be carefully considered."

Awarded on Friday, February 10, 2006, after careful inspection and documentation, Organic to Go passed all of the requirements set forth by the USDA to receive organic certification. By receiving certification, consumers can be assured that all organic items at Organic to Go have been handled properly preserving the organic integrity of these foods.

"Organic to Go has demonstrated its leadership as a retailer by voluntarily undergoing the rigors of organic certification," says Holton. "The time, effort, procedures and training that O to Go invested in honoring its commitment to organic and sustainability through achieving organic certification is evident the moment a guest enters the establishment."

A recent survey by Walnut Acres/Roper ASW, concludes 72 percent of Americans say that if given a choice to purchase a food product with or without a USDA organic seal, they would purchase the labeled product. The trend continues with the younger Gen Y's (81 percent) and Boomers (76 percent) who are most eager to see the seal.

"Jason Brown has assembled an amazing team of individuals who value the discerning taste of their clientele. O To Go moves beyond offering its patrons an organic choice, and understands the importance of delivering quality assurance and organic verification as well," says Holton.

The voluntary certification declares to consumers that a company is upholding the highest organic standards and that the organic integrity of its retail products is assured.

"Organic to Go was founded on the principle of providing delicious, convenient breakfasts and lunches that happen to be organic and natural delivered to corporate America," said Brown. He adds, "Eating organic is not only good for you personally, but good for the environment. Receiving certification proves our commitment to both. We're here for the long term health of the consumer -- and the planet."