Mar 23 , 2021
What's on the Label?
Technically, the word ‘organic’ refers to any material that is carbon-based. Organic foods must follow a set of standards of whatever country or state they are from in order to be labeled organic. The procedures that these products go through differ greatly from their conventionally developed counterparts. The process different foods must go through is very costly, and therefore, many small farms choose to forgo this certification process even though what they produce most often would meet or exceed standards required to be labeled ‘organic’.
Depending on the region the product is from, they requirements will vary but those most common include:
- Prohibition of synthetic chemicals, irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms
- Farmland that has been free of the above for a time (in the U.S. it's three years)Detailed records of practices used
- Periodic on-site inspections
- USDA-certification for organic meat forbids use of growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified feed, or animal by-products in raising the livestock
- Organic eggs are required to come from chickens that are both cage-free and free range
In addition to those requirements listed above, in the United States, for producers to label processed food "organic" it must contain 95% organically grown ingredients; however, the wording "contains organic ingredients" may be used as long as at least 70% of the ingredients are certified organic.
Try eating organic options of the food listed on the dirty dozen. (Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes [imported], Spinach, Lettuce, Potatoes).
The most important protein to buy organic may well be beef. "Research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer," says Samuel Epstein, MD, professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.