What Is Organic Food?

Organic food is any food that is produced without the use of artificial pest control, fertilization, or drugs. But in order to be certified by the government as “organic,” the food must be produced under very stringent guidelines and rules. It must meet certain set standards. Basically, just because your neighbor doesn’t use pesticides on his tomato plants, doesn’t make the tomatoes organic.

For fruits and vegetables to be certified as organic, they must be grown without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizer, or sewage sludge. The food must have been processed without the use of any kind of food additives or preservatives. Meat that is deemed organic must come from animals that have been raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics that are very widely used in the production of all meat-producing animals including beef, poultry, pork, lamb, etc. The animals must have been fed a diet that consists of nothing but organic feed.

A lot of the big retailers are now trying to get their cut of the rapidly growing organic food market. Even Wal-Mart, the retail giant, is not marketing “organic” foods. The key word to look for is “certified,” to be sure that the food that you are buying really IS completely organic.

There is no law against selling food deemed “organic,” but in order to be deemed “certified organic,” the farm or ranch on which the food was produced must have met rigorous standards and been certified as an organic producer. The rules and regulations are strict, and getting that designation is not free by any means.

Food that is marked “organic” can be imported from other countries that do not have the same standards as those of the United States. The term “buyer beware” applies to the organic food market.


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