Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Does "Organic" Mean?

There is so much buzz these days about the origins of food — where it's from and how it was farmed. Because it's important to eat the healthiest, safest food possible, you're doing a great thing for yourself and your family by making careful choices! I recommend that you eat organic as much as possible — but the labels that proclaim foods to be organic vary.
If you've ever bought organic produce or meat, you've probably seen stickers on the packaging. Here's a quick guide to help you understand what's on these labels!

USDA Organic or 100% USDA Organic: This is the gold standard in the United States for organic certification. Anything bearing the USDA Organic label was made with at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, the 100 percent USDA Organic label is reserved for foods that are entirely organic — meaning they were produced without hormones, pesticides, or other dangerous chemicals. Now, that's responsible shopping!
Certified Naturally Grown: This label is used by smaller farms that adhere to the USDA guidelines for organic food. Foods marked this way are usually only sold locally.
All Natural: Take this food label with a grain of salt. In fact, you might want to take the whole shaker! The United States has yet to officially define the term "natural," so it can be used whatever way the food manufacturer wants!

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