Embracing a Healthy Family: The Criteria for Organic Food

The Criteria for Organic Food

I received my All You magazine and read it last night.  I was interested in one particular article that discusses how to fit organic food into your budget and what allows a seller to state their food is organic. 

Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the seller must adhere to "strict" rules to call their food organic and what they are allowed to place on their food label:
  • Food must be produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics or growth hormones.
  • Food cannot be genetically modified, include animal parts or come into contact with sewage sludge (i.e. our wastes retrieved from wastewater treatments plants<-- yes, they do that as I used to be a state inspector for a state agency) or ionizing radiation.
I've long wondered the ramifications of growth hormones not only to speed up the growth factor of animals but also the milk hormones given to dairy cattle to get them to produce milk quicker and in higher quantities.  It seemed odd to me that after the 90's, there seems to be an abundance of teens that weigh 100 pounds and have a size D chest.  Coincidence?  Maybe but if you ever watch television shows from the 80's and early, there aren't many big chested girls.  Granted the late teen and older women are getting surgically enhanced but I doubt the early teen girls are.  I digressed ...

What do the labels mean?
  • USDA Organic - single ingredient foods  (fruit and vegetables, milk, meat, eggs or cheese) certified under USDA rules and multi-ingredients products made with at least 95% organic ingredients.
  • 100% Organic - all the ingredients in multi-ingredient foods with this label are organic.
  • Organic - products bearing this label contain at least 95% organic ingredients.  The remaining ingredients are not available organically but have been approved by the USDA's National Organic Program.
  • Made with Organic Ingredients - these products must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
To see more specifics on label claim rules, the USDA has a page here.  If you are interested in purchasing organic food and don't know if you have a local farmer's market, you can check here.

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