Have you ever wondered, is organically grown a legal term in the United States? This question can be settled by the United States Department of Agriculture. This article discusses how the USDA works to ensure that growers adhere to strict standards of growing and manufacturing.
Is Organically Grown a Legal Term in the United States?
Though some companies use the term "organically grown," the most official term is "certified organic." In the United States, a company or farm can only use the label "organic," if they have indeed been certified by the National Organic Program (NOP), a division of the USDA.
The NOP was created as a result of a 2002 federal act. Under the law, farmers and manufacturers wishing to use the term organic will need to adhere to specific rules governing food production, processing, delivery, and retail sales.
In order to adhere to these standards, organic farmers or companies must be prepared to change their growing and manufacturing processes, as well as more administrative tasks such as record-keeping and documentation.
If a product earns the label of certified organic, it means that the grower or manufacturer has satisfied the following requirements.
- They have avoided the use of most pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, additives, and other chemicals or genetically modified substances. Instead, they must use manure or compost to fertilize the soil.
- Animals should be given organic feed and grazed in rotation to minimize disease risk.
- Instead of harmful insecticides, growers are encourages to use beneficial insects or bird to reduce risks of pests.
- The land used to grow crops should have chemical-free soil. This means that some time, perhaps several years, will need to pass on typical farm soil before it can be acceptable for use for organic crops.
- Growers that produce both organic and non-organic goods must strictly adhere to standards for physical separation.
- Organic growers and manufacturers must submit to regular inspections of fields and facilities.
The Positives of Going Organic
There are a variety of health benefits of consuming organic foods, but there are also a multitude of positive ecological benefits.
- Many believe that by eating certified organic foods, you are getting a higher percentage of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Organic product is grown with little to no chemical pesticides, which means you and your family will not be consuming the pesticides that you would otherwise get on regular produce.
- Certified organic meats are generally not given antibiotics or hormones. Some studies have linked these substances to disease and sickness in humans.
- Some people feel that organic foods taste much better than their non-organic counterparts.
- By purchasing organic products, you are contributing to an industry that makes a softer ecological footprint on the earth than non-organic goods. The environmental benefits of organic growing versus non-organic growing are quite high. The organic growing industry does not release chemical runoff into the soil and sustains local insect and wildlife in its growing areas rather than damaging the ecosystem with pesticides and other chemicals
So, if you're wondering, is organically grown a legal term in the United States, obviously the answer is yes. Organic farming and organic livestock production are some of the fastest growing industries. Though organic products do tend to cost slightly more, many people have decided that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and are turning to this healthy alternative in droves.