What do organically grown vegetables/fruits or organically raised animals entail?
In order for a product to wear the USDA approved seal it must meet a set of criteria. The product must be made of 95% organically grown and processed ingredients. If it is a processed food, it cannot display the USDA approved seal. It can, however, say “made with organic ingredients” if 70% or more of the product is organic. If it is less than 70% organic, it can list only the specific ingredients which are organic.
Organic means it is made without pesticides, hormones, synthetic additives, or unnatural fertilizer. However, there are still some loopholes in the usage of the term “organic” in USDA regulations.
To expound on comitar’s post, any product labeled as “organic” has to be USDA certified. While producers who sell less than $5000 a year in organic foods are exempt from USDA certification, they must still follow the USDA’s standards for organic foods.
Organic farmers do not use the traditional methods to fertilize, control weeds, or prevent livestock disease. This means farmers apply natural fertilizers, like manure or compost, to feed the plants and soil and give organic feed to animals. To manage weeds, farmers rotate crops, till, hand weed, or mulch. Farmers must use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease. These practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation as well as prevent livestock disease.
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