Posted by Abby on 7/16/2013
"Organic" is the way farmers grow and process products like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meats. Non-conventional methods are used by farmers who grow organic. An example of this is farmers, rather than using chemical weedkillers, will do a more sophisticated crop rotation and spread mulch to manure to keep weeds away.
Here are some differences between organic and conventional farming:
- Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.
- Spray synthetic insecticides to reduce pests and disease.
- Use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds.
- Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.
- Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
- Spray pesticides from natural sources; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
- Use environmentally-generated plant-killing compounds; rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
- Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors. Use preventative measures - such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing - to help minimize disease.
If food has a USDA Organic label, it means it was produced and processed according to the USDA standards. Seals that read "100% Organic" is either completely organic or made with all organic ingredients. If the seal reads "Organic" must be at least 95% organic to use this term. Products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients may say "made with organic ingredients" on the label. If a food contains less than 70% organic ingredients, they can't use the seal or the word "organic" on their product label.
"Natural" and "organic" are not the same thing. If you see "all-natural," "free-range," or "hormone-free" on labels, they do not mean the same as organic. Only foods grown and processed according to the USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.