Organic plant foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic meats are raised without hormones or antibiotics. Because of the pure nature of organic foods, they are considered healthy by some people. Organic fertilizers include substances like chicken and cow manure as well as composted materials like leftover food peels, coffee grounds and leaves that are allowed to decay into organic matter. This matter is rich in nutrients that help plants grow and thrive without the use of chemicals. Other organic methods include using certain types of plants with pungent or strong odors in the organic garden. These plants work like natural pesticides to keep unwanted plant eating pests at bay.
Organically grown foods are readily available throughout the year. Most larger grocery retailers have sections dedicated specifically to organic produce and meats. Farmer’s markets are also great places to find locally grown organic foods. It is also easy to grow organic foods in the backyard. With a little time and patience, a small backyard garden can yield enough organic produce to cook or preserve for later consumption.
Organic foods must meet United States Department of Agriculture standards. Those products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain ingredients that are produced by organic methods, and be processed with organic processing aids. When a product is labeled “organic,” no less than 95 percent of the ingredients must be organically produced. It should be noted that water and/or salt may be used in these foods. Other ingredients must be on the National List of non-organic agricultural products that cannot be found commercially in organic form.
If a food product meets the standards for “100 percent organic,” the term organic or “100 percent organic” may be displayed on the label. There is also a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal that may be used on product packaging and also in advertising the product. The production methods for products labeled“100 percent organic,” or “organic” cannot include unapproved methods, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge.
Processed food products may be labeled “made with organic ingredients” if they contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. These products must include up to three organic ingredients or food groups on the main display panel. Like other organic products, those labeled “made with organic ingredients” cannot use excluded methods, ionizing radiation or sewer sludge in production. The USDA seal cannot be used on food packages that hold these products.
Those who enjoy eating organically grown or organically produced foods should be prepared to pay a little more than foods produced by conventional agricultural methods. However as consumers demand more organic selections and as organic farming methods improve, these products should become widely available and more economical.