Product Standards

We do the research so you don’t have to.

Our exceptionally high product standards reflect our mission to serve member owners and our community by operating a socially responsible business. We provide natural foods and quality products and emphasize those which are locally produced, organically grown, and ecologically sound.

According to these principles, the following ingredients do not conform to Ashland Food Co-op Product Standards:

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Bromated flour
  • Artificial sweeteners or preservatives
  • Artificial colors, flavors, or additives

Also prohibited are food products in which the primary ingredient is irradiated, extracted with chemical solvents, or produced using cruel practices in the treatment of animals.

Our goal is to have a 100% GMO-free store. The primary challenges in accomplishing this goal are:

  • Current food regulations in the United States do not require the labeling of genetically modified ingredients.
  • GMO use is widely accepted in the food industry nationwide.

We are proud to be leading the movement in advocating for transparency in GMO labeling locally and throughout Oregon.

Although it is slow-going, we are determined. We are using the following strategy to achieve our goal:

Existing Products: Food products carried before 2014 must contain no GMOs in the first three ingredients to conform to our Product Standards. 

New Products: As of 2014, any new food products brought in must contain no GMOs in any ingredient in order to conform to AFC Product Standards:
New food products with any high-risk ingredients* must be third-party certified as Organic or GMO-free.
A signed affidavit declaring GMO-free ingredients may be allowed for local vendors in lieu of third-party certification.
*High-risk ingredients include all High-Risk Crops as defined by the Non-GMO Verified Project. As of Sept. 2013, these include: Alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini, and yellow summer squash. (What is GMO? Learn more here). Non-organic animal products that may have been produced using GMO feed are not currently classified by AFC as a GMO ingredient. Meat, dairy, or egg products produced using antibiotics or hormones, such as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), are classified by AFC as GMO ingredients.

Non-Conforming Products
Any food products that do not conform to our Product Standards must have a Product Standards Alert sign posted at the point of purchase. 

Useful Links

The following links are good sources of reliable information about organic certification, GMO-Free Products and current issues around this important topic.

Organic: Integrity and Trust

We know you shop at the Co-op for a reason. We understand you want to feed your families the very best—healthy food free from toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. It can be overwhelming to research and choose products you can trust—which is why we do it for you, and we have one very simple suggestion to offer as you navigate the world of natural foods: 

Eat More Certified Organic Food.
Really? That’s it?

Yes, it’s actually that simple. And we’re here to help. Whether you’ve been organic since the 60s or you’re going organic for the first time, we’d love to help you understand why Certified Organic food is so much better than conventional, and even “natural” foods. 

Here is it in a nutshell:
Organic = Non­-GMO

  • Certified Organic food is always GMO-free. It’s the law.
  • Certified Organic products have always been prohibited from using GMOs.

Organic = Better for people, better for the planet

  • Certified Organic is the only label that is guaranteed to support a range of environmental and social values. 
  • Organic agriculture uses NO toxic and persistent pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, or petroleum-based fertilizers. 
  • Certified Organic products contain NO artificial colors, flavors, artificial preservatives, irradiated materials, or GMOs. (Did we mention there are no GMOs in organic products, ever?)

Organic = Totally worth it

  • It’s true, organic products cost a little bit more. Is it worth the added expense? We think so. Here’s what you get: peace of mind and the guarantee that your food is not only good for you but also creating good in the world. Products marked as “natural” or “non GMO” have no such guarantee.

As Southern Oregon’s first and only Certified Organic Retailer, the Co-­op ensures organic integrity from the farm to your table. It’s our top priority, at the very heart of our mission.