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What Does Organic Mean? Your Foodie Questions, Answered

Did you know that organic food is stocked in almost 3 out of every 4 conventional food stores?

Organic food comes with many promises of greater health and vitality for its consumers. However, have you ever stopped and asked yourself: What does organic mean?

If so, it’s time to find out. Before your next trip to the store, take a moment to read up on the requirements for organic products outlined below. 

What Does the USDA Organic Label Mean?

You may find that the food offered in your local organic takeout restaurant seems healthy and appealing. However, if you want to learn what the standards are for organic food, you should start with the official government standard.

In the US, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic label is the standard for organic food. This government department is responsible for tracking organic products from start to finish. The goal is to ensure that they are genuine and do not claim to be something they’re not. 

Foods that are considered organic by the USDA have to pass stringent tests. The tests include soil tests, pest and weed control tests, and the documentation of any additives involved in their cultivation. 

The USDA determines the organic nature of foods according to their type, including meat, dairy products, and produce.

Organic Produce

Organic produce is not only food that is cultivated without chemical additives. The USDA also requires the soil that farmers use for organic produce to be free of prohibited substances for three years. 

Farmers will need to use some substances to ensure that their crops are not attacked by disease or eaten by bugs. However, each substance used must be declared and approved by the USDA before use.

Organic Meat

The standards for organic meat are equally high. The focus is on the welfare of the animal and the quality of life it enjoyed before slaughter.

Farmers may previously have used antibiotics or hormones to increase the mass of their cattle. However, these chemicals and processes are not considered organic. 

Following their slaughter, no artificial preservatives may be added to the meat other than those that the USDA approves.

Could It Be Genetically Modified?

Would the USDA approve a genetically modified animal as organic? Absolutely not. The USDA expressly prohibits the marketing of genetically modified meat as organic. 

While non-organic farmers may protest that there is no danger in eating genetically modified food, the USDA maintains this high standard. Since long-term studies are inconclusive regarding the danger of genetically modified meats, they exclude them from organic listings. 

What Does Organic Mean? And Much More

If you are interested in benefiting from a healthy diet, you are no doubt attracted by the promises of organic food suppliers.

So, what does organic mean? After reading this article, you now know the answer and how it impacts your diet. 

If you would like to learn more about lifestyle and health topics, we’re here to help you. Take a minute and check out our other blog articles today!

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