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Frequently Asked Questions

Product | Organic | Service

If you need help navigating or ordering from this site, you can call Online Customer Assistance during business hours (7am - 6pm CT, Monday - Friday) at 800-669-3275. We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. If you don't see the information you're looking for, you can submit a question here:

Product

Q: What allergens are present in your facility?
A: We manufacture some products within our facility with ingredients that contain allergens. When ingredients with allergens first arrive at our facility, we are careful to identify them, tag them and isolate them in storage. When we process products that have any of these ingredients, we do a special cleanup afterwards to prevent the allergens from carrying over to subsequent processing. We provide full disclosure of all ingredients on our labels, so you can check there for any allergens you wish to avoid.

Q: What is your policy on animal testing?
A: None of our products are tested on animals.

Q: How much caffeine is in your tea?
A: The caffeine content of tea varies depending on a number of factors, including the variety and age of the leaves, the size of the leaves, the environment where they were grown, and the method of steeping. Generally speaking, the longer a tea is steeped, the higher its caffeine content. Because black tea is often steeped longer than green or white, it's considered to have the most caffeine — even though the dry leaves of black teas aren't higher in caffeine than those of green teas. The general range is 15 to 70 mg of caffeine per cup.

Q: Is Frontier a gluten-free facility?
A: Gluten allergy and sensitivity is a growing problem, and many people try to avoid gluten in their diets. While spices and herbs are naturally gluten-free, we do not test for gluten in all products, only those certified gluten-free
(by GFCO) under the Simply Organic brand. We don't make gluten-free claims for any other products because even tiny amounts of gluten can be a problem, and these may be present in our facility or the facilities of our suppliers.

Q: Do Simply Organic products contain genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)?
A: No. Simply Organic products are all certified organic and being non-GMO is one of the criteria for organic certification.

Q: Are your products irradiated?
A: Frontier has always been against using irradiation for sterilization of spices, herbs and foods, and we do not use any ingredients or carry any products that are irradiated under any of our brands (Frontier, Simply Organic, and Aura Cacia).

Q: What does kosher certified mean?
A: In order for a product to be kosher certified, a kosher certification company must inspect the production process from start to finish, checking every container and all conveying, processing and packaging machinery to ensure that nothing non-kosher can get into the food.

Q: Who is your kosher certifier?
A: Frontier products are certified by Kosher Supervision of America (KSA).

Q: Are your products kosher?
A: Most Frontier spices and seasonings are kosher. This information is on product labels and is also accessible online on each item information page.

Q: Why don't you provide any information about the medicinal uses of herbs?
A: In a nutshell, because it's against the law. There are strict Federal regulations prohibiting any herb supplier from making health claims for their products. Our practices comply with those FDA and FTC regulations and follow the recommendations of the American Herbal Products Association.

Q: Do your products contain MSG?
A: We do not add monosodium glutamate (MSG) to any of our products. FDA regulations require that if MSG is added to a product it must be identified as monosodium glutamate on the label. Some of our ingredients may contain some naturally occurring glutamic acid, which can combine with sodium present in the product to naturally form MSG. While the FDA classifies MSG and glutamic acid as generally safe, people who are sensitive to MSG and glutamic acid may suffer from adverse reactions.

Q: Where can I find nutritional information for your products?
A: All of the food products and dietary supplements that we sell that have reportable nutrients (amounts significant enough to warrant reporting according to FDA food labeling regulations) will feature a Nutrition Facts Panel or Supplement Facts Panel on each item information web page. (See the reportablenutrients FAQ for more info.)

Q: Why isnt there nutritional information on most spices?
A: Most of our single ingredient spices (that is, basil, fennel, cumin, etc.) don't contain any reportable nutrients. Reportable nutrients are amounts significant enough to warrant reporting according to FDA food labeling regulations. (See the reportable nutrients FAQ for more info.)

Q: Are organic products produced in other countries required to meet U.S. organic regulations?
A: Yes, all organic products sold as certified organic in the United States are required to follow the U.S. standards and be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier.

Q: How are your products processed?
A: We do not regulate the methods our suppliers use to grow, harvest, and process the products we purchase from them. Processing may vary from crop to crop and amongst suppliers. The way in which a suppliers process their crops is often considered proprietary. They determine the best method to produce a high quality product. Our Quality Assurance department has researched and developed a set of specifications for each product that we offer, and we ensure all products meet those specs with a comprehensive quality program.

Q: What are reportable nutrients?
A: FDA food labeling regulations (21CFR101) exempt nutrient listings for foods that contain insignificant amounts of all of the nutrients and food components in the standard declaration of nutrition information. (An insignificant amount of a nutrient is defined as the amount that would show a zero in the nutrition labeling, or "less than 1 gram'' in the case of total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, and protein.) Since the nutrient levels are based on the amount customarily consumed by a person at one "eating occasion" (defined by the FDA as 1/4 teaspoon), most spices do not meet the threshold of having reportable nutrients.

Q: How can I tell if my herbs and spices are still good?
A: The potency of botanical products fades over time at different rates. Grinding exposes more surface area to the air, so ground spices lose their freshness more quickly than whole spices. As you can see in the table below, different parts of the plant age differently as well.

Our bottled spices and blends are freshness dated — the date the product is best used by for maximum freshness is printed on the bottom of each bottle. Check that date for unopened products. For opened packaged products and bulk products, follow the guidelines below:

Whole herbs, spices and seasoning blends
Leaves and flowers — 1 to 2 years
Seeds and barks — 2 to 3 years
Roots — 3 years
Vanilla beans — 2 years
Others — 2 to 3 years

Ground herbs, spices and seasoning blends
Leaves — 1 year
Seeds and barks — 1 year
Roots — 2 years

(You can help maintain maximum quality of your stored herbs and spices with these tips for storing herbs and tips for storing spices.)

Organic

Q: What does "certified organic" mean?
A: "Certified organic" is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The act provides for a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that develops and recommends the standards for the National Organic Program (NOP) as administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A certified organic designation means that a state or private certification organization that is accredited by the USDA has verified that the product meets its strict organic standards. The certifier inspects the location where the organic product is produced and handled to ensure that all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards are being followed. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to the local supermarket or restaurant must also be certified and inspected annually to ensure continued compliance. (In order to maintain their accredited certifier status with the USDA, certifiers are required to conduct annual on-site inspections of all their clients.)

Q: Who is your organic certifier?
A: Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia organic products are all certified by the leading third-party organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI).

Q: Are products labeled "natural" the same as "organic?"
A: No. While the term "natural" suggests that products have been minimally processed or are free from synthetic ingredients, there are no federal regulations that must be complied with in order to label a botanical product "natural." Frontier's natural products have not been treated with irradiation or chemicals such as ethylene oxide (EtO), and there are a number of other ingredients and processes that are not allowed. On the other hand, products labeled "organic" must be certified to have met the government's strict organic standards by an USDA-accredited third-party certifier. The terms "natural" and "organic" are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don't confuse these terms with "organic." Read more about Frontier's standards for natural products.

Q: What is organic agriculture?
A: In a nutshell, organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. Or in the words of the National Organics Standard Board, "Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony." More definitions and extensive resource links are available at the USDA's Organic Production and Organic Food: Information Access Tools. Further online resources on organics, sustainability, farm energy and alternative crops (including herbs) can be found in the list of Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) publications.

Q: Can you help me understand certain organic claims? For example, what is the difference between 100% Organic vs. Made with Organic?
A: Here are the basic USDA regulations for the four recognized types of organic claims: Products labeled "100 Percent Organic" must show an ingredients list, the name and address of the handler (bottler, distributor, importer, manufacturer, packer, processor, etc.) of the finished product, and the name/seal of the organic certifier. All ingredients must be certified organic (excluding water and salt). Products labeled "Organic" must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain an ingredient list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product and the name of the organic certifier. A minimum of 95% of the ingredients (excluding water and salt) must be certified organic, and any non-organic ingredients used must be approved for use in an organic product by the USDA. Products labeled "Made with Organic (specified ingredients or food groups)" must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and up to 30% non-organic agricultural ingredients or other ingredients approved for use in organic products by the USDA. The label must contain an ingredients list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, along with the name of the organic certifier. If a product contains less than 70 percent organic ingredients, the product can specify organic ingredients only on the ingredient panel. The product cannot use the word "organic" on the principal display panel or display any organic certifier seals.

Q: Are organic foods more expensive than conventionally grown ones?
A: It's true that organic foods which have the same growing, harvesting, transportation and storage costs as conventional items usually have additional costs associated with stricter growing regulations of organic certification and smaller scale production that contribute to higher prices. This was dramatically the case when organics first came on the market. But the price gap is continually shrinking as increased demand for organics and a more robust organic supply chain are driving down the cost of organic foods, making them much more competitive with non-organic ones. Furthermore, many argue that from the perspective of the true cost of our food — factoring in all the indirect environmental and social costs of conventional food production, such as cleanup of polluted water, replacement of eroded soils, and costs of health care for farmers and their workers — organic foods are already less costly than those grown with synthetic chemicals.

Q: Is organic food healthier?
A: Organic farming techniques provide a safer, more sustainable environment for everyone — growers, consumers and all of us who share the world environment. There is substantial research suggesting links to cancer and other diseases from the synthetic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers used on non-organic crops. And the Organic Center provides a links to numerous studies that suggest some organically produced foods may be more nutritious than non-organic ones as well.

Q: Are organic products completely free of pesticide residues?
A: The 1995 definition of organic production by the National Organics Standard Board notes that "Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and waters." These methods include buffer zones between conventional and organic fields, a three-year waiting period before previously non-organic land can be used for organic crops, and placing organic products in storage on the higher shelves to avoid cross contamination from non-organic products. Products are tested by certification agencies for contamination in response to a complaint, to spot-check certain crops, or if there is any evidence of contamination. The principal guidelines for organic production require using materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and integrate farming into the whole ecology.

Service

Q: When will I get my order?
A: Delivery time is primarily dependent on the shipping method for your order. Most of our orders are shipped Economy Rate. It's our most economical option and the method most often used for free shipping. Economy Rate shipping is available for packages up to nine pounds going to residential addresses in the continental United States. Most Economy Rate orders arrive within 10 business days, but delays are possible. FedEx Home Delivery and 3-day and 2-day expedited shipping also are options (at additional cost). USPS Priority Mail and Parcel Post delivery times vary widely and are not guaranteed.

Q: How will you pack my order?
A: We use 100% post consumer waste recycled fiber boxes, soy ink printing, and recycled and recyclable packaging that is sourced locally.

Q: Why do you use packing peanuts and what are they made of?
A: We feel our 100% biodegradable starch-based (75% corn, 25% potato starch) packing peanuts are the best currently available material to both protect our products in shipment and minimize our environmental footprint. For many years we avoided polystyrene packing peanuts by using recycled shredded newspaper for packing, but we received a growing number of customer complaints about the newspaper not protecting the orders adequately. We reluctantly switched to polystyrene packing peanuts for a period of time when we were unable to find biodegradable ones of acceptable quality. We continued sampling and testing, however, and found the biodegradable packing peanuts we currently use, which our tests show cushion shipments as well as the polystyrene ones they replace. We have also discontinued re-use of incoming polystyrene peanut and notified suppliers not to ship to us using polystyrene packing peanuts, so we can provide our customers with only 100% biodegradable packing material. Consumers and businesses receiving shipments containing the biodegradable packing peanuts are encouraged to re-use or recycle them or to dispose of them by composting (they dissolve in water).

Q: What is your return policy?
A: At Simply Organic, we are dedicated to bringing you exceptional quality products and service. You may return an item(s) for refund or replacement within 60 days of the invoice date. Returned merchandise must be accompanied by a returned goods authorization number. Return shipping charges are the responsibility of the customer.

•If you wish to return an item for a refund, please do so by clicking here: Return an Item.
•If you need to return an item for replacement, please contact our Customer Care department: 1-800-669-3275 or customercare@frontiercoop.com.

Q: What are the requirements for a wholesale account?
A: Wholesale accounts are available for businesses that resell our products and buying clubs made up of a minimum of five households that order together as a group. The buying club must be named and have one person in charge as the coordinator who provides their social security number on the application, along with a list of the members of the club and their addresses.

Q: How do I go about setting up a wholesale account?
A: Businesses that resell our products and qualified buying clubs may join our member-owned cooperative. There is a one-time $10 membership fee. There is also a member application that must be filled out. Members receive: our low member prices, a share in Frontier's profits in relation to purchases, and the right to vote on important policy issues and for Board directors.

Q: Can I set up a wholesale account as an individual?
A: No, but we do offer an option for individuals to purchase at wholesale member cost: a buying club. A buying club is a group of a minimum of five households that order together as a group. The buying club must be named and have one person in charge as the coordinator who provides his or her social security number on the application, along with a list of the members of the club and their addresses. We will send all members our annual catalog and monthly sale flyers.

 

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