“Organic” can be quite confusing. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines the term organic as:
Organic food is produced using sustainable agricultural production practices. Not permitted are most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. The USDA National Organic Program website has more information including inspection and certification information. The National Organic Program website can be found here.
It’s hard to know what is truly good for you anymore. Not only are we bombarded with GMO products and chemicals in our food but many “healthy foods” really aren’t all that healthy. This is why the best way to go is to look for organic labeling. Labeling can be very deceiving and you should know that there are different degrees of organic. You can search endlessly online for information on organic products but I have collected a quick list of the levels of organic below!
“100% Organic” –This would be foods that are completely organic or made with 100% organic ingredients and use the USDA seal.
“Organic” – This would be foods that contain at least 95% organic ingredients. The USDA seal may be used here as well.
“Made with organic ingredients” – This would be foods that contain at least 70% organic ingredients. They may list specific organic ingredients on the front of the package but in this degree they would not be able to use the USDA seal.
“Contains organic ingredients” – Foods that contain less than 70% organic ingredients and may list specific organic ingredients on the information panel of the package but they cannot use the USDA seal here either.
As you can see 100% Organic is the best way to go. Be super cautious with products that say “Contains Organic ingredients”. This is the most deceptive of them all. When it is labeled this way, they can use as little as 1% of organic ingredients! This is why it is very important to look at the labels very carefully. Look for the USDA seal on items. It looks like this:
If you are like me and like to get USDA Organic insider updates you can register here! The USDA Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.