What is USDA Organic?
USDA Organic products must meet specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic. They are subject to the following standards:
USDA Certified Organic Crops
- Crops cannot be fertilized with sewage sludge. Commonly, conventional crops fertilize using Biosolids, the solid parts of hospital/industrial/human waste that is separated from sewage sludge. Eww.
- Crops may not be irradiated. Irradiated crops are exposed to high doses of radiation in the form of gamma rays, X-rays or electron beams. These processes are used to kill bacteria in food.
- No synthetic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizer s are inorganic man-made fertilizers usually derived from petroleum products.
- prohibited pesticides: The USDA maintains a list of substances that can and can’t be used.
- genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can not be used.
USDA Certified Organic livestock
The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.
USDA Certified Organic multi-ingredient foods
The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of non-organic ingredients that are allowed in organic foods. Here is a link to Food Babe website where she created A list of non-organic ingredients allowed in organic food.
Here is a really handy guide to understanding egg carton labels: