by Terri Hall
Did you know that there are food items that display the USDA organic seal that are not 100 percent organic? There is a range of “organic-ness” that is approved by the National Organic Program. Read the label carefully to determine how organic your food really is:
100% Organic: These products can only contain organically produced ingredients and should display the USDA organic label.
Organic: These products contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients (by weight). The remaining ingredients are non-organic, but have been approved by the National Organic Program.
Made with Organic Ingredients: At least 70 percent of the ingredients in these items are organic, three of which can be listed on the front of the package. The remaining ingredients must be approved by the National Organic Program. You won’t find the USDA seal on these items.
If you see the USDA organic seal, know that the product is at least 95 percent organic.
For produce, meat, poultry and dairy products: in order to bear the USDA organic seal, these items must be produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, irradiation, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge. While meat-producing chickens are allowed to be confined, egg-producing chickens and other animals must have access to the outdoors. All meat-producing animals must be fed 100 percent organic feed free of growth hormones and animal byproducts.