By | November 14th, 2013 |
  • 1. What is organic?

    Organic is a system of food production that is subject to federal standards for environmental protection and animal welfare.

  • 2. If I see a USDA organic label, what does it mean?

    An organic label from the U.S. Department of Agriculture guarantees that the product is at least 95 percent organic. Products that carry the USDA organic label are subject to strict requirements and yearly inspections.

  • 3. What if a product says “organic” but doesn’t have the USDA organic label?

    Food products can contain organic ingredients even if they don’t have the USDA organic label. Keep an eye out for “Made with Organic Ingredients” and “Contains Organic Ingredients.” These are both federally regulated terms that mean that there are USDA certified organic ingredients inside.

  • 4. What does “Certified Organic” mean?

    If a product has been “Certified Organic”, it has been grown according to strict standards set by USDA. Farmers that have been “Certified Organic” raise crops and livestock without toxic pesticides, most synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones or genetically engineered seeds.

  • 5. How does food become “Certified Organic”?

    To become “Certified Organic”, a USDA-accredited agent must certify that a farmer is following the federal organic standards. Once certified, organic farms are inspected yearly to make sure they still meet all organic requirements.

  • 6. Are there genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in organics?

    No. GE ingredients aren’t allowed in organic products. This means a farmer can’t use GE seeds to grow crops, and organic livestock can’t eat GE feed.

  • 7. Do organic farmers use toxic chemicals?

    No. By law, organic farmers can’t use most toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Instead, they raise healthy crops and livestock using time-tested methods that protect the environment.

  • 8. Is organic farming better for the environment?

    Organic farmers improve the environment by using earth-friendly methods. For example, they don’t use most synthetic chemicals and pesticides – which often pollute nearby streams – to grow their crops. A nine-year study by USDA showed that organic farming can improve soil health more effectively than other types of farming.

  • 9. Is there an official definition of “organic”?

    Organic production is defined as using “cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”

  • 10. Who regulates certified organic farmers?

    USDA’s National Organic Program oversees certified organic farmers. The National Organic Program is responsible for certifying organic farmers, maintaining organic standards and making sure that organic farmers meet yearly requirements.

  • 11. Is organic food better for you than conventional food?

    Conventional farmers use toxic pesticides and chemicals that can remain on foods sold at the grocery store. Organic farmers don’t use toxic pesticides and most synthetic fertilizers.

  • 12. Are organic yields lower?

    Several studies have shown that organic crops produce yields consistent with conventional crop yields. With good practices, organic farmers can produce as much as conventional farmers.

  • 13. How do organic farmers grow without toxic pesticides?

    Organic farmers use methods that your grandparents would recognize – such as compost and cover crops – to keep the land healthy and fertile. When the land is in good condition, farmers don’t need toxic pesticides to grow crops.

  • 14. How are organic livestock and poultry raised?

    Organic livestock are fed a 100 percent organic diet and raised with access to the outdoors, which means fresh air and direct sunlight. Organic livestock are never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.

  • 15. Where can I find organic products?

    Organic products are available in grocery stores throughout the U.S. and account for more than 3 percent of grocery sales.

  • 16. How many organic farmers are in the U.S.?

    As of 2011, there were more than 12,880 certified organic farms in the U.S., according to USDA.


Organic News


Get the latest news, tips and helpful updates in your inbox