A Cheat Sheet For “Organic” – Different Foods, Different Meanings

It seems that organic foods are becoming somewhat mainstream.  Each year, the sales of organic foods grow by 10 to 20% in the US. But a lot of different kinds of food is labeled organic. Do you know what you’re buying?

The term ”Organic” is not one size fits all and can  mean different things for different kinds of food.

Here’s what “Organic” means for various categories of foods according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action Healthletter:

  • ORGANIC FRUITS, NUTS, VEGETABLES, and GRAINS:  they’re not irradiated or genetically engineered; no synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or sewage sludge is used
  • ORGANIC MILK:  no growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs are used; all the cows’ feed for the previous 12 months has been 100% organic; the cows have access to outdoors; at least 30% of the cows’ diet has been from the pasture during the primary growing season
  • PACKAGED FOODS:  “100% Organic” means all ingredients are organic;  “Organic” means at least 95% of the ingredients are organic; “Made with Organic Ingredients” means at least 70% of the ingredients are organic
  • ORGANIC SEAFOOD:  there are no current official U.S. standards; the USDA is working on a standard for farm-raised seafood
  • ORGANIC EGGS:  they do not necessarily come from cage-free or free-range chickens;  hens are fed 100% organic feed with no added  growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  • ORGANIC MEAT & POULTRY: the animals have access to outdoors; they are not given growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs; they’re raised on 100% organic feed; ]they aren’t fed animal byproducts and aren’t irradiated.

This article is part of the 30 day series of blog posts called: 30 Easy Tips for Looser Pants and Excellent Energy.

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