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LOS ANGELES -- Organic to Go (O to Go) here, an all-natural and organic cafe and corporate meal delivery service, has become the first fast-casual restaurant/retailer to receive organic certification from Quality Assurance International (QAI), a third-party certification agency in the organic foods industry accredited to the National Organic Program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
QAI has certified such retailers as Byerly's, Cub Foods, Wild Oats, and Whole Foods.
Certification was awarded to O to Go on Feb. 10. The USDA began regulating the organic foods industry in 2002.
"Receiving certification assures our customer that our organic products are free from harmful additives and preservatives," noted O to Go c.e.o. Jason Brown in a statement. "From farm to desk, our products are guaranteed to be of the highest quality, without compromise."
"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," said QAI spokeswoman 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."
O to Go, which runs 14 stores in Los Angeles, California's Orange County, and Seattle, provides natural soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees for "grab & go" or delivery. All O to Go fare is made with organic ingredients whenever possible.