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Organic Saving the Planet Kitchen Saying
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MomsRetro Food Facts

Things you probably didn't know about the foods you eat.

What Organic Really Means

By Fran Black

The word "organic" may appear on packages of meat, cartons of milk or eggs, cheese and other single-ingredient foods. Certified organic requires the rejection of synthetic agrochemicals, irradiation and genetically engineered foods or ingredients. Literally, of course, the term is a redundancy: all food is composed of organic chemicals (complex chemicals containing carbon).

Any materials used in the production or processing of organic food must be proven safe. Awareness is growing about the value of organic foods.  But, whether organic chicken or pesticide-free lettuce represents "healthier" alternatives has long been a subject for debate.

Organic farming is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. Gardening organically is much more than what you don't do. In fact, sales of organics have surged more than 20 percent each year in the past decade. In terms of number of farms, acreage and value of production, the organic food industry is growing at a rate of 20-30% per year.

As commodity programs are eliminated, more farmers have discovered that organic production is a legitimate and economically viable alternative enterprise. The growth in the number of organic farmers has increased steadily, similar to the growth of the U.S.

In current organic production systems, growers are not permitted to use conventional synthetic organic fungicides in their disease management program. 

Non-organic milk comes from farms that are allowed to use genetically modified cattle feed, along with routine antibiotic treatments and synthetic pesticides.
  Arguments have long raged as to the effects these hormones and chemicals have on the bioproducts.

Growth hormones in cows, pesticides on produce and antibiotics in poultry are among the reasons many Americans are turning to organic foods.

Organically raised animals may not be given growth hormones to or antibiotics for any reason. Producers are required to feed livestock agricultural feed products that are 100 percent organic, but farmers may also provide allowed vitamin and mineral supplements.

The US Department of Agriculture finally put in place a national system for labeling organic food. The new federal rule guarantees you, the consumer, organic products that are grown without toxic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.

Pesticides derived from natural sources (such as biological pesticides) may be used in producing organically grown food. Limitations in relation to which pesticides may or may not be used, present the organic grower with some unique and very demanding challenges. Food that is at least 70 percent organic will list the organic ingredients on the front of the package.

More than 40 private organizations and state agencies (certifiers) currently certify organic food, but their standards for growing and labeling organic food may differ.

Even with these labeling rules in place, consumers should be prepared for some confusion when shopping for organic foods.  For one thing, organic products are not uniformly labeled because many farmers using organic methods do not pursue certification at all. In addition, the language contained in seals, labels, and logos approved by organic certifiers may differ.

While consumers struggle with the fact that often, the availability of organic materials is limited when large quantities are needed. More and more people have come to appreciate the added dimensions of value and quality available in the organic marketplace.

Francesca Black works in marketing at Organic Items and Pilates Shop leading portals for organic products and natural exercise.   Article Source:

Educational Food Links

Find out where your food really comes from and how it is made;
Watch the movie Food Inc. ...

The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the many agencies charged with protecting the food supply.  Information from the USDA:

Additives in Meat & Poultry Products
This fact sheet contains information regarding the food additive approval process and a glossary of additive terms you may see on a meat or poultry product label.

Natural Flavorings on Meat & Poultry Labels
The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline answers some of its most common questions about the natural flavorings listed on meat and poultry labels.

The Poultry Label Says "Fresh"
For consumers, "fresh" means whole poultry and cuts have never been below 26 °F. The fact sheet provides background information on this labeling rule.

Approval of Food Ingredients & Sources of Radiation For Use in Meat & Poultry
FSIS streamlined the approval process for food ingredients, including food and color additives, and sources of radiation, by ending the requirement that they be approved separately by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FSIS.

Next Food Safety Page: Food Safety:  Genetically Modified Foods

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