Defining Organic Food

farmer's marketBefore you go to your local grocery store to buy organic food, you should take the time to learn what gives it the label “organic.”

For foods to be considered organic, they must be produced using methods that do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and they cannot be subjected to irradiation or have been processed with chemical additives or preservatives.  For poultry and livestock, the animals must not be fed growth hormones or antibiotics.  They must also be classified as free-range animals.  Organic certification varies from country to country–the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the European Union are among those who have their own systems to classify organic foods.  In the States, food can be considered organic if it contains at least 95% organic ingredients.

Besides local groceries that sell organic foods, farmers’ markets provide the best source of organic foods because they come directly from the growers and animal farmers themselves.  Due to the growing popularity of organic foods, many farmers who once relied heavily on processed produce now have a division dedicated to producing organic foods.

A much touted argument in favor of producing organic foods is that these farms create less waste and consume less energy than their traditional counterparts.

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