What is Organic?

What is Organic Food?

Organic is becoming a wider choice and topic by the day. Our food and soil system has deteriated over the decades and it is time we get it back before it is too late. More and more people are choosing organic, growing organic, and cleansing life of toxins in the best way possible. 

Kimber Mahon, organic food expert, gets into some bullet points on being organic and certified organic. 

How is an organic farm different from a conventional farm? 

A conventional farm makes use of herbisides, chemical fertilization, pesticides, and fungicides; organic farms do not.  In addition, conventional farms are subsidized by the government and paid for by taxpayers. This is not the case with organic farms. 

Organic certification is more than just a piece of paper or being granted persmission to put an organic sticker on your product. Achieving and maintaining organic certification in ongoing and is a company's way of sending its customers a very special message: We care about your health and the health and longevity of the Earth. To become USDA certified organic, is a three year process. It is a commitment to become the best for you, the soil and environment.

Breaking down the various categories for organic labeling helps to understand why a product is organic. Production and handling is looked at closely. 

General and specialty crops, including wild crops (used for essential oils, herbal supplements and other plant based products aka wild-crafted), must be grown adn harvested correctly, withouth the use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. 

Livestock standards include regulations such as organic feed, origin status, zero antibiotics or growth hormones and the 'access to pasture rule' (June 17, 2010). The livestock must be allowed to actively graze on a daily basis during the grazing season. Animals must also have access to outdoor areas and cannot be confined during the non-grazing season. 

USDA Organic SealThe USDA Organic Seal (certified true organic above all) or organic wording of a product is based the percentage of organically produced agricultural ingredients the product has in it. 100% USDA certified organic products must be made with 100% organic ingredients.  There is also a second tier to the USDA Organic Seal, for those that are 95% organic ingredients. Any product less than 95% certified organic ingredients may not wear the USDA Organic Seal.

If a business or individual knowingly labels or sells a product that bears the USDA Organic Seal or organic wording, and that product is not truly organic, a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for each offense may be charged.

To simply put it, Organic is more than "pesticide free"

  • Organic means an agricultural process that does not rely on synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
  • Organic crops are grown under a system of food production that promotes soil health and sustainable agricultural methods.
  • Organic products are processed to keep the highest nutritional value without using artificial preservatives, colors, waxes, additives, or irradiation.
  • Products labeled "Certified Organic" have been grown and processed under strict codes and standards established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

How to identify organically produced food (currently four types of organic products):

  • "100% USDA Certified Organic" (100% Organic Ingredients)
  • "Organic" (95-100% Organic Ingredients)
  • "Made with Organic Ingredients" (at least 70% Organic Ingredients)
  • May not make any "Organic" claims on front of package, but may list some organic ingredients in the side panel (less than 70% Organic Ingredients