We all do it, we go to the grocery store and are bombarded by labels and certifications that we- let’s be honest- don’t REALLY understand… One that has become fairly popular these days is the word organic, which society has come to associate with healthier, more nutritious foods. However, what does organic really mean? Health Fitness Revolution breaks it down for you!
- What the USDA Organic seal means: It comes from an Organic-certified operation with an organic system plan and records that verify compliance with that plan. Operators are inspected annually in addition there are random checks to assure standards are being met.
- The 4 USDA Labeling Categories
- 100% Organic: Must be made with 100% organic ingredients
- Organic: Must be made with 95% organic ingredients
- Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients and strict restrictions on the remaining 30% (including no GMOs-genetically modified organisms)
- Organic labeling on the side of the package: Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.
A farmer can convert their land to organic but it takes three years to become “Organic Certified”. In the first year, it cannot be sold as organic. In the second year, it may be labeled “In Conversion”. When the soil and fertility of the land is in it’s third year, it is considered organic.
Guidelines for Organic Food
- Meat and Dairy
- Must be from animals that have been raised under specific animal welfare guidelines
- Given no antibiotics
- Given no growth hormones
- Provided with access to the outdoors
- Fed with 100 percent organic feed – no animal byproducts or genetically modified or “GMO” crops
- Produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for a minimum of three years
- Must come from farms that meet the USDA’s National Organic Standards
- Hens must be fed organic feed
- The hens themselves must be maintained without hormones and other intrusive drugs and antibiotics may only be used in cases in cases of outbreak or disease
- Hens are kept in a cage-free environment and allowed access to the outdoors
- Grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering
- Relies on natural or mechanical methods, rather than prohibited chemicals, for pest control