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Frontier Co-op

Frequently Asked Questions

Product Questions

allergens, animal testing, caffeine in tea, gluten-free, GMOs, irradiation, kosher, medicinal info, MSG, nutritional information, nutritional yeast, processing, shelf life, temperatures used

Organic Questions

Customer Service Questions

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What allergens are present in your facility?
We manufacture some products within our facility with ingredients that contain allergens such as dairy, egg, tree nuts, soy. We are careful to identify ingredients with allergens when they first arrive at our facility, 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.

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

How much caffeine is in your tea?
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 15-70 mg caffeine per cup.

Is Frontier a gluten-free facility?
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.

Do Frontier products contain any genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)?
More than 97% of our products do not contain any genetically engineered ingredients. (The best way to avoid GMOs is to buy certified organic products — being non-GMO is one of the criteria for organic certification.) We consider any non-organic corn, soy or canola ingredient as GMO-suspect. We're identifying and purchasing verified non-GMO alternatives to replace those suspect ingredients as quickly as possible in order to ensure that we are 100% non-GMO. All our ingredients are listed on our labels if you wish to avoid non-organic corn, soy or canola ingredients during the transition.

Are your products irradiated?
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, Aura Cacia). The alteration of molecules due to irradiation and the accompanying uncertain effects in consuming irradiated products are issues and concerns to our company.

Are your products kosher?
product detailsMost Frontier spices and seasonings are kosher. This information is on product labels and is also accessible online by clicking on the "product label" graphic in the item listing that's located just to the right of the product photo.

What does kosher certified mean?
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.

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

Why don't you provide any information about the medicinal uses of herbs?
In a nutshell, because it's against the law. There are strict Federal regulations regarding any herb supplier 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.

Do your products contain MSG?
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 products may contain some naturally occurring glutamic acid, which can combine with sodium present in the product to naturally form trace amounts of 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.

Where can I find nutritional information for your products?
product detailsAll 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 the item information web page that appears when you click on the "product label" graphic in the item listing that's located just to the right of the product photo: . (See the reportable nutrients FAQ for more info.)

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

What are reportable nutrients?
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.

How is your nutritional yeast produced?
It's a primary-grown yeast from pure strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae grown on mixtures of cane and beet molasses. After the fermentation process is completed, the yeast is harvested, thoroughly washed, pasteurized, and dried on roller drum dryers. The B vitamins B2 and B12 are both naturally produced during fermentation. Additional B2 and B12 are added after fermentation but prior to the drying process, along with B1, B6, niacin and folic acid. Due to the naturally occurring color variation of the molasses culture used to grow this yeast, some color variation may be present in the finished product.

Note: Glutamic acid is present in this product.

How are your products processed?
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, and we then test it to ensure that our quality specifications are met.

Our QA 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.

How can I tell if my herbs and spices are still good?
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:

General Guidelines for the Shelf Life of Botanical Products

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. As you can see in the table below, different parts of the plant age differently as well.

Whole herbs, spices and seasoning blends
Leaves and flowers 1 to 2 years
Seeds and barks 2 to 3 years
Roots 3 years
Ground herbs, spices and seasoning blends
Leaves 1 year
Seeds and barks 1 year
Roots 2 years
Whole herbs, spices and seasoning blends
Vanilla beans 2 years
Others 4 years

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

How long do teas stay good?
Correctly stored tea should be good for up to a year.

At what temperature are your herbs and spices dried or processed?
We do not regulate the temperatures our suppliers use to process our products. They determine the best method to produce high quality product. We then test the product we receive to ensure that quality. Many of our herbs and spices are also steam sterilized to ensure your safety. Dried herbs and spices, unless grown and processed at home on a very small scale, should not be considered adherent to a raw foods diet.

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Organic Questions

agriculture, certification, claims, cost, natural vs organic, nutrition, regulations

What is organic agriculture?
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.

What does "certified organic" mean?
"Certified organic" is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The act provided 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 product 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.)

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

Can you help me understand certain organic claims? For example, what is the difference between 100% Organic vs. Made with Organic?
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.

Is organic food more expensive?
It's true that organic foods — which have the same costs as conventional items for growing, harvesting, transportation and storage — usually have additional costs associated with stricter growing regulations of organic certification and smaller scale production that contribute to higher prices for organic items. 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 food — factoring in all the indirect costs of conventional food production such as cleanup of polluted water, replacement of eroded soils, costs of health care for farmers and their workers — organic foods are already less environmentally and socially costly than those grown with synthetic chemicals.

Are products labeled "natural" the same as "organic?"
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 by an USDA-accredited third-party certifier to have met the government's strict organic standards. 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.

Is organic food healthier?
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.

Are organic products completely free of pesticide residues?
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 the farming into the whole ecology.

What are NOS, NOP and NOSB?
The National Organic Standard (NOS) is a federal regulation created by the USDA to provide uniform, enforceable federal regulations regarding organics. The regulation is administered and enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the National Organic Program (NOP) that was implemented in 2002. Ongoing development of standards is centered in the National Organics Standard Board (NOSB), an advisory board that suggests additions and changes to the regulation and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of the NOP.

Is organic food grown in another country required to meet U.S. organic regulations?
Yes, all organic food that's sold as certified organic in the United States is required to follow the U.S. standards and be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier.

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Customer Service Questions

delivery time, international shipping, minimum order, order packing, packing peanuts, returns, shipping cost, wholesale accounts

What will the delivery time be for my order ?
All orders received before 6 PM Central Time will be shipped the following day. (For delivery times, see the map below.) Note: We cannot ship to APO boxes or international addresses.

Estimated Delivery Times

Do you ship internationally?
Direct shipping outside of the United States is available only to Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (via U.S. Postal Service). Frontier is not responsible for uninsured lost packages shipped through the U.S. Postal Service. We are not able to direct ship orders to countries other than those above. Requests for shipping arrangements to other countries should be sent to international@frontiercoop.com.

Does Frontier have a minimum order requirement?
No. There is no minimum order size required to order from Frontier.

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

Why do you use packing peanuts and what are they made of?
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 from 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).

What is your return policy?
If there is a problem with your order, we work with you to quickly correct the situation. IMPORTANT: Contact us at 1-800-669-3275 before shipping any returns to ensure your returns are processed as quickly and accurately as possible. Our policies regarding returns:

• Within 60 days of invoice date, Frontier will accept the return of any product on the basis of quality issues or shipping mistakes.

• Requests for product returns must be authorized in writing and receive approval from Frontier before replacement merchandise or credit memo will be issued.

• In order to receive full credit, all returns must be in saleable condition and accompanied with a copy of the invoice.

• All freight and handling charges on returned goods are the responsibility of the customer.

Can I set up a wholesale account as an individual?
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 their Social Security Number on the application, along with a list of the members of the club and their addresses. We will put all members on the mailing list for our annual catalog, as well as the monthly sale flyers. We also offer the option of emailing the monthly sale flyers.

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