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What is organic?

The term "organic" may only be used on products that have been produced, handled and processed in accordance with strict procedures and stringent regulations established by the US Department of Agriculture.

Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, chemicals, petroleum-based or sewer-sludge based fertilizers, bio-engineering or ionization radiation.

The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils and utilize organic fruits and vegetables that have grown on land clean of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for at least 36 months.

Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Before a product can be labeled "organic", a government-approved certifying agency inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process food before it reaches your local supermarket must also be certified.

It is a federal offense to label a product "organic" unless it has been certified.

Why buy organic?

Organic certification assures that a product has been grown and handled according to strict regulations set by the Department of Agriculture that guarantees its safety.

Organic production reduces potential health risks from chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Organic agriculture is a way to prevent any more of these chemicals from reaching the air, earth and water that sustain us.

Organic food is produced by farmers who employ the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.

Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.

Organic farmers have led the way, with innovative on-farm research aimed at minimizing agriculture's impact on the environment.

More information

For more information, visit, the official site of the National Organic Program.