Definition of Organic Food
7 Habits of Weight Loss

What's the Definition of Organic Food?

The definition of organic food is actually regulated by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. This Act requires the definition of national standards to regulate what can and can’t be called organic. The standards refer to the production, handling and processing of organically grown produce.

Exactly what is organic food is rather loosely defined. The Act emphasizes the need to promote biodiversity, natural biological cycles and soil management. It talks about minimizing pollution from air, soil and water.

Farms that produce organic food have to meet certain USDA organic standards and are subject to inspection by government certifiers. Before a food can be labeled as organic it must be produced without using conventional pesticides. In terms of food that comes from living animals - meat, eggs and dairy products, the animal must not be fed antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic standards govern the growth, handling and processing of food through its whole lifecycle. There are legal definitions for food that is 100% organic, organic (95% or more organic), and 70% organic or less.

Organic Beer and Wine must be made with certified organic ingredients from the barley, hops and yeast in beer, to the grapes in wine, all the ingredients must be grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and certain non-organic fertilizers.

Organic food is not allowed to be genetically modified or subjected to radiation treatment. According to the government definition of organic food, it cannot be chemically treated for ripening either.

The USDA runs the National Organic Program, which regulates the legal definition of what organic food is. Other countries also have programs to regulate organic food definitions.

Note that natural food and organic food are not interchangeable terms. In order for a food to be labeled organic it must comply with the organic certifiers standards. The term natural refers to how much processing a food has undergone. Natural food has undergone minimal processing and does not have added preservatives or other food additives. But the term natural has nothing to do with whether that food was grown organically. A fruit or vegetable can be grown using dangerous pesticides but if it is unprocessed, it can still be called natural.

If you would like to know exactly what organic food is according to the government definition you can begin with this brochure

Philip Kustner

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