What is Organic Produce?

organic foods
The word organic is thrown around these days like my socks on laundry day. There are many questions that people have with Organic. What exactly is organic, and how does it affect me? Is organic really a good thing, or just a way to get my money? Is all organic food the same? These are some of the biggest questions that the average person has.

What exactly is organic, and how does it affect you?
healthy fruitsOrganic foods must meet a set of guidelines to be certified as organic. For your food that have the 100% USDA Organic seal, the food must meet even higher standards. For foods to achieve the 100% USDA Organic seal the food must meet these requirements:

Pesticides: Farmers in most states can use pesticides only if they are derived from natural sources. Synthetic pesticides would disqualify produce from receiving the USDA Organic seal.

Genetically Modified Organisms are not eligible for the seal.

In the cases of Meat, eggs, and dairy, growth hormones and Antibiotics are not allowed.- As a side note, I am very conflicted on not allowing antibiotics to be used on animals. After all if my child needs antibiotics to fight off a disease his body needs help with, I am going to give him the antibiotic.

Fertilizers containing synthetic materials, and sewage sludge are not allowed to be used on organic produce.

There are always rules being added and amended. To find the most up to date information check out the USDA at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=ORGANIC_CERTIFICATIO.

Is Organic really a good thing, or just a way to get my money?
The intake of more organic foods can greatly improve your health. Simply using foods that have not been covered in pesticides can improve your quality of life. Pesticides soak into your food, and then are ingested into your body. Over time these pesticides can build up and cause adverse health problems. Picking the highest quality foods to put into your body will give you the best quality life, hands down. While organic foods may have a higher price tag, you really do get what you pay for.

Is all organic the same?
There are several different labels that use the word organic. For example 100% Organic follows all the guidelines for the USDA seal. Then there is Organic. This means that it contains 95-99% organic products. Made with Organic Ingredients has 70-94% organic materials in the packaging, these can not bear the organic seal, but can list three organic products on the front packaging.  This should help guide shoppers through the market when picking up produce to cook for dinner.

Happy CowMake sure that you do your research. If you go to a farm, and see the cows being taken care of well, and the only thing standing in the way of the USDA Organic seal is antibiotics, make sure that you are okay with eating, or not eating that cow. To me, and to many others some farmers offer products that are high quality, and can sometimes go beyond organic. Maybe one detail is keeping the produce from having the organic label. Do what you feel is right for your family. Know where your food comes from.

I hope that this clears up any confusion, and answers some of your questions. If you have any more, please feel free to ask in the comment section.

Garrett

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