the Definition of Organic Food?
The definition of organic food is actually regulated by the Organic
Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. This Act requires the definition
of national standards to regulate what can and can’t be called organic.
The standards refer to the production, handling and processing of
organically grown produce.
Exactly what is organic food is rather loosely defined. The Act
emphasizes the need to promote biodiversity, natural biological cycles
and soil management. It talks about minimizing pollution from air, soil
Farms that produce organic food have to meet certain USDA organic
standards and are subject to inspection by government certifiers.
Before a food can be labeled as organic it must be produced without
using conventional pesticides. In terms of food that comes from living
animals - meat, eggs and dairy products, the animal must not be fed
antibiotics or growth hormones.
Organic standards govern the growth, handling and processing of food
through its whole lifecycle. There are legal definitions for food that
is 100% organic, organic (95% or more organic), and 70% organic or
Organic Beer and Wine must be made with certified organic ingredients
from the barley, hops and yeast in beer, to the grapes in wine, all the
ingredients must be grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and
certain non-organic fertilizers.
Organic food is not allowed to be genetically modified or subjected to
radiation treatment. According to the government definition of organic
food, it cannot be chemically treated for ripening either.
The USDA runs the National Organic Program, which regulates the legal
definition of what organic food is. Other countries also have programs
to regulate organic food definitions.
Note that natural food and organic food are not interchangeable terms.
In order for a food to be labeled organic it must comply with the
organic certifiers standards. The term natural refers to how much
processing a food has undergone. Natural food has undergone minimal
processing and does not have added preservatives or other food
additives. But the term natural has nothing to do with whether that
food was grown organically. A fruit or vegetable can be grown using
dangerous pesticides but if it is unprocessed, it can still be called
If you would like to know exactly what organic food is according to the
government definition you can begin with this brochure