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Food Program Post
Organic Food

What is Organic?

Organic farming is to farm without the use, or a limited amount, of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides (herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) and plant growth regulators (hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives and genetically modified organisms). Organic farming and organic food production is strictly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Organic Food Productions Act of 1990. The USDA uses the National Organic Program (NOP) to provide information to the public about standards, policy statements, decision-making and procedures, and more that is associated with organic commodities (www.udsa.gov).

Did You Know?

Most families (78 percent) only buy a small amount of organic food. Although sales of organic items have grown by and estimated $29 billion in the last 20 years, according to the organic trade association, it still only represents 4.2 percent of all the food sold in the United States.

Organic does not mean local, but local may mean organic. Most food travels more than 1,000 miles—even organic food. Check the labels or figure out the origin of your organic produce, and try to buy local. In addition to helping the environment, shopping local keeps dollars in your community. Even if a local, small farm isn't certified organic, many of them use organic methods; on average, it takes most farms about three years to become certified organic.

Only 0.6 percent of America Crops are organic. According to recent studies from Organic-world.net, less than 1 percent of American crops are organic without genetic modification.

There is no organic regulation on seafood. If you see seafood marked “organic” it is still not required to meet any specific standards.

USDA Organic LogoFoods labeled "USDA Organic" aren't necessarily 100 percent organic. The USDA states that unless products say “100% organic,” any items labeled “organic” need only 95 percent of its ingredients to be organically grown. Also, some items are even excused from the definition since they are “too difficult to source organically.”

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