Organic Food – A Definition

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Food

From the scientific point of view, all food is organic, since it basically has a carbon composition. However, when speaking about organic food, what people understand these days is a specific type of food that meets a set of specific standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Only the food certified by this authority can be officially called organic. Organic food producers have to respect all those regulations, otherwise they will be subject to fines per offense. In order to better understand what organic food is, we have to know and understand the guidelines set by the USDA.
Basically, the USDA’s job is to make sure that all organic food is pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, additives and chemical free. Traditional food like diary, meat, vegetables and fruit contain some of these substances.
In order to guarantee the organic characteristic of fruits, vegetables and grains, USDA has set some strict regulations concerning all food production steps. Thus, for a plant product to be labeled as organic it most come from a field that has been certified as organic as well. An organic field is the one on which no chemical substance (like pesticides or fertilizers) has been used for at least three years.
Other specific guidelines must also be met after harvesting the crops. Farms that find themselves in a process of transformation from a traditional to an organic one will receive the “transitional” label before they get to the point of fully meeting the USDA conditions.
As to organic meat and poultry, these have to be raised without using any growth stimulation substances, hormones and antibiotics. Apart from that, the producer must assure the necessary organic outdoor pastures and fresh air exercise, clear water and proper bedding in order for the meat to be considered fully organic. These animals must also be fed with organic plants, produced under the same USDA regulations and they must be kept apart from the traditionally raised animals.
Thus, the food of these animals must be produced on organic farmland and free of synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides for at least three years before being fed to the animals. Only this way the milk, for instance, can be considered an organic dairy product.
Other dairy products, like cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and cottage cheese fall under the same strict USDA regulation for organic food. Organic and non-organic milk mixture is not allowed under any circumstances.
Organic certification of a product also implies meeting other specifications as concerning the way animals are being raised, such as sufficient outdoor pasture area, fresh air and exercise access, clean water, proper bedding and humane treatment of animals.
And as if the USDA regulations were not strict enough, the same authority establishes the precise organic content of the food given to animals. Strangely enough, this organic content is never 100%; 95% organic is enough for it to be considered as organic.
Thus, organic food falls into different categories of organic. The label on them gives us the information about how organic is the food we buy. Accordingly, the label “organic” means that 95% of the product contains organic ingredients; “made with organic products” (the product contains 70%-95% organic ingredients) and “less than 70% organic” (has less than 70% organic ingredients).

From the scientific point of view, all food is organic, since it basically has a carbon composition. However, when speaking about organic food, what people understand these days is a specific type of food that meets a set of specific standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Only the food certified by this authority can be officially called organic. Organic food producers have to respect all those regulations, otherwise they will be subject to fines per offense. In order to better understand what organic food is, we have to know and understand the guidelines set by the USDA.
Basically, the USDA’s job is to make sure that all organic food is pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, additives and chemical free. Traditional food like diary, meat, vegetables and fruit contain some of these substances.
In order to guarantee the organic characteristic of fruits, vegetables and grains, USDA has set some strict regulations concerning all food production steps. Thus, for a plant product to be labeled as organic it most come from a field that has been certified as organic as well. An organic field is the one on which no chemical substance (like pesticides or fertilizers) has been used for at least three years.
Other specific guidelines must also be met after harvesting the crops. Farms that find themselves in a process of transformation from a traditional to an organic one will receive the “transitional” label before they get to the point of fully meeting the USDA conditions.
As to organic meat and poultry, these have to be raised without using any growth stimulation substances, hormones and antibiotics. Apart from that, the producer must assure the necessary organic outdoor pastures and fresh air exercise, clear water and proper bedding in order for the meat to be considered fully organic. These animals must also be fed with organic plants, produced under the same USDA regulations and they must be kept apart from the traditionally raised animals.
Thus, the food of these animals must be produced on organic farmland and free of synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides for at least three years before being fed to the animals. Only this way the milk, for instance, can be considered an organic dairy product.
Other dairy products, like cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and cottage cheese fall under the same strict USDA regulation for organic food. Organic and non-organic milk mixture is not allowed under any circumstances.
Organic certification of a product also implies meeting other specifications as concerning the way animals are being raised, such as sufficient outdoor pasture area, fresh air and exercise access, clean water, proper bedding and humane treatment of animals.And as if the USDA regulations were not strict enough, the same authority establishes the precise organic content of the food given to animals. Strangely enough, this organic content is never 100%; 95% organic is enough for it to be considered as organic.
Thus, organic food falls into different categories of organic. The label on them gives us the information about how organic is the food we buy. Accordingly, the label “organic” means that 95% of the product contains organic ingredients; “made with organic products” (the product contains 70%-95% organic ingredients) and “less than 70% organic” (has less than 70% organic ingredients).

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