Organic Growing Practices

The World Health Organisation monitors data on sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide concentrations around the world’s major cities. Five cities in two of the world’s leading coconut producing countries, India and Indonesia made it into the top ten most polluted cities.

The farms of Tonga are thousands of miles away from the world’s great polluting cities, the winds and the waters of Tonga are amongst the cleanest. Tonga’s unique geographical location will provide you with a high level of confidence that by consuming Tongan grown products you are consuming the best.

Few places in the world may boast such a pure environment. This is why we chose Vava’u as the best place in the world to source the coconuts and produce we need to provide you with the finest quality products.

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Organic Growing Principles

Our Tongan growers follow traditional methods of farming. They each look after a small parcel of land and typical of third world countries in the tropics they grow using traditional organic methods. Few farmers can afford to import chemicals and pesticides let alone fund the process to become certified USDA organic or any other organic certification for that matter. Their traditional growing methods negate the need for chemicals and pesticides. The traditional ways are of mixed cropping. This may be less productive but in this environment it is more effective than intensive single crops that become susceptible to both pests and disease.

Tonga is a small and isolated country and as a result has one of the most pure and natural growing locations in the world. None of our produce is sourced from the main island of Tongatapu where years of squash production has seen the introduction of chemicals and pesticides. Our produce is only sourced on the outer islands of Tonga far away from civilization, industrializtion, pollution and commercial farming.

As a result, our growers practice organic growing principles and do so without a certificate to say so.

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Organic Growing Practices

Whilst our growers use organic methods they are not certified. Each grower typically has eight acres of land and they cannot afford to pay the upfront fees and ongoing audit fees to maintain their certification. The goal of most organic certification programs is to provide the consumer with the confidence that the produce that they are consuming does not contain harmful chemicals and pesticides.

At Taste of Tonga we fully endorse this goal and to be certain we are delivering our customers the best possible coconut oil we have our Premium Virgin Coconut Oil tested by an independent third party laboratory for nutritional value, chemicals and pesticides.

The independent testing company we use is Silliker. You may access a copy of the most recent test results by clicking here.

We support the concept of Organic Certification however believe that a certificate on a label or website only partially satisfies the desire for evidence that what we are consuming is both chemical and pesticide free. A certificate may give you some confidence in the integrity of the product, however, having an independent and credible third party test and certify the results is certainty of proof of quality.

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Identifying Organic Food

“Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the food’s total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States,[13] Canada, and Australia) and any non-organically produced ingredients are subject to various agricultural requirements.

Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed so long as they are not synthetic.

Early consumers interested in organic food would look for non-chemically treated, non-use of unapproved pesticides, fresh or minimally processed food. They mostly had to buy directly from growers: “Know your farmer, know your food” was the motto.

Personal definitions of what constituted “organic” were developed through firsthand experience: by talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities. Small farms grew vegetables (and raised livestock) using organic farming practices, with or without certification, and the individual consumer monitored. As demand for organic foods continued to increase, high volume sales through mass outlets such as supermarkets rapidly replaced the direct farmer connection.

Today there is no limit to organic farm sizes and many large corporate farms currently have an organic division. However, for supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labeling, like “certified organic”, is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance.

The USDA carries out routine inspections of farms that produce USDA Organic labeled foods.[14] Of the 30 third party inspectors 15 of them have been placed under probation after an audit.[citation needed] On April 20, 2010, the Department of Agriculture said that it would begin enforcing rules requiring the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides, after an auditor exposed major gaps in federal oversight of the organic food industry.[15]” (You can view the source document by clicking here.)

Independent Third Party Testing of Taste of Tonga Premium Virgin Coconut Oil

So that we may provide you with absolute confidence and certainty of quality, we test out oil with a third party independent international food testing laboratory for nutritional values, chemicals and pesticides. After all, no one wants to eat chemicals and pesticides.

Having an Organic Certificate only partially satisfies the discerning consumer and as seen above may not provide certainty of organic quality. Before buying other oils look for the proof of quality, look past the certificate on the label and look for credible third party test results.