Organic food or foods that are claiming to be organic has to be free of all additives and processed with those methods, materials, and conditions that do not add chemicals or additives. These include:
- Food irradiation;
- Chemical ripening;
- Ingredients that are genetically modified.
Organic food providers use organic agriculture that is regulated by government standards that are extremely strict. This requires that organic products that bear the label of being organic to be grown without the use of any toxic pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or practices such as sewage sludge.
These farmers understand that what they put into soil profoundly affects what is grown from it. So, they currently rely on practices such as:
- Weeding by hand;
- Cover crops;
- Rotation of crops
- Dense planting.
These are all used instead of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and any synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, to ensure the soil is enriched naturally.
Once only found in health food stores, organic food products can now be found in any major grocery store and are clearly marked organic. These products include:
- Beef products;
- Dairy products.
All animals that produce organic products are also raised with no chemical additives such as antibiotics or growth hormones.
At the supermarket
When shopping for organic products you need to look at packaging labels as well as signs for organic products. Together with national standards for organic products, the USDA has strict rules for labeling to enable consumers to know exactly the organic content of the food you are buying. The USDA Organic seal will also tell you that a product is at least organic up to 95%.
If you are interested in buying direct from the farmers, the Registry of Organic Food Providers is a way to find organic farmers in your area.