What Does Organic Really Mean?

Digging The Vegetable GardenLately I have been really curious about what makes a food completely organic. Personally I try to buy all organic, but if you want the truth I seriously had no idea what ‘Organic’ meant. I don’t recall why I started going organic, maybe it was trending in college, or maybe my mom was on a health kick that stuck, either way, I am excited to pass on what I have learned to you.

The USDA National Organic Program defines organic as:

Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, which come from animals that are given NO antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

To summarize, any farm raised product – animal, fruits, and vegetables – that touches chemicals, hormones or radiation treatment is NOT organic. I’m sure that goes without saying, however, in all the time I have bought organic foods, not once have I thought to look up the definition.

Food companies able to use the USDA organic sticker have to produce food that meets these standards:USDA-Organic-Label

100% Organic: The food contains NO synthetic ingredients.

Organic: The food contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.

Organic Ingredients: Products which are made up of only 70% organic ingredients cannot use the organic seal.

Granted, these are not the fleshed out rules and standards farmers have to abide by, but it gives you an idea of what a farm produced product has to go through in order to use those tiny little USDA approved stickers.

What is interesting to note, is that ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are not the same thing. Natural means the product has been minimally processed, and contains no artificial ingredients. However, this standard only applies to foods that contain meat and eggs, it does not include standards for farm practices.

Buying organic or all natural, comes down to preference. Some argue that certain foods should be avoided because they contain pesticide residue which could be harmful to people. Others argue that the amount of processed foods you would have to eat before you had any adverse effects would be substantial. As of now, there just isn’t enough research to prove that one point is more correct than the other. I continue to buy organic because I like supporting local farmers and I like the idea that the animal products I use come from farms where they don’t add hormones to the growth process. Whatever your reason for buying or not buying organic, these are the facts.super-broccoli

1. Natural is not the same as organic.

2. Organic foods are literally grown the old fashioned way.

3. Farmers put in a lot of extra work just to use that sticker!

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Health Hunch.

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