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What is organic?

Natural vs. Organic

What's the difference between organic and natural? Isn't "natural food" just as safe and healthy as organic food? Unfortunately, natural does not mean organic and comes with no guarantees. "Natural foods" are often assumed to be foods that are minimally processed and do not contain any hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavors. In the United States, however, neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules or regulations for products labeled "natural." As a result, food manufacturers often place a "natural" label on foods containing heavily processed ingredients.


What about organic? Organic is the most heavily regulated food system. Only organic guarantees no toxic synthetic pesticides, toxic synthetic herbicides, or chemical NPK fertilizers are used in production, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are given to animals. Organic producers and processors also are subject to rigorous announced - and unannounced - certification inspections by third-party inspectors to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust.


Learn about the USDA certified organic label and read on for more about the difference between organic, natural and conventional products.


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USDA Organic

Organic is the most heavily regulated and closely monitored system in the U.S.


Unlike other eco-labels, the organic label is backed by a set of rigorous federal production and processing standards. These standards require that products bearing the USDA organic label be grown and processed without the use of toxic and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, genetic engineering, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sewage sludge and irradiation.


Developed through a transparent process involving the National Organic Program, the National Organic Standards Board (a citizen advisory group), industry representatives and the public, these standards provide traceability from the farm to the consumer, ensuring that you and your family can have confidence in the organic products you buy.


As the gold standard of eco-labels, organic: it's worth it.


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Third-Party Verification

Food Safety

On the heels of the Cargill ground turkey recall, in which ground turkey meat suspected of being contaminated with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella sickened people across the United States, food safety is on everyone’s minds. We want to know where our food comes from. We want to know how it is processed and handled. We want to be sure that the animals from which our food is made are raised in clean, safe living conditions.organic inspection and verification And we want to know that there is a system in place to make sure that the people and companies involved in food production are following the rules.


While organic is not a food safety system, many of the requirements for organic are also good food safety practices. Organic producers and processors must keep detailed records from the farm to your table. They are also subject to rigorous announced - and unannounced -certification inspections by third-party inspectors to ensure that they are grown and processed in a manner that you and your family can trust. Plus, all products bearing the organic label must comply with all federal, state, FDA, and international food safety requirements.


For more in-depth food safety 101, visit http://www.organicitsworthit.org/quick/food-safety-101. You can also visit http://www.organicitsworthit.org/learn/food-safety-information to learn more about why organic is worth it to ensure the safety of your food.


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Verification text

Organic certification is a rigorous, multi-step process: organic certification


a) Companies must submit a detailed application, outlining the nature of their operation, the production/handling processes they use, and the products they produce. This is called an Organic Systems Plan.


b) Certifiers perform announced and unannounced on-site inspections, during which determine whether companies are in compliance with the National Organic Program. They compare companies’ Organic Systems Plans to practices and procedures that are followed on-site.


c) Certifiers audit companies’ records (i.e.: of purchases, inputs, ingredients), tracing products from their starting ingredients to their final stages of processing/production.


d) Companies are issued an official certificate affirming their organic certification.


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Personal Health

Environmental Health

Organic agriculture is based on practices that not only protect environmental and animal health, but also strive to improve it.


Instead of relying on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which can deplete soil of valuable nutrients and increase environmental cancer risk, organic agriculture builds up soil using compost, crop rotation, and other natural tools.


It also helps to keep our water supply clean.


Plus, by prohibiting the use of petroleum-based fertilizers and absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, organic agriculture helps to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.


Read on to learn more about these benefits and how, together, they represent an environmental bargain. In the process, discover why organic is worth it for the health of your environment and the animals living in it.


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There’s nothing simple about being a consumer today.No matter where we go, we face a seemingly endless number of product choices, all claiming to be “the best” for our health and our family’s well-being. How, then, can we be sure that the products we pick off the store shelves are really as good for us as they claim to be?child eating organic fruit


Looking for organic products is a great way to start.


Mounting evidence shows that organic foods are rich in nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are critical to maintaining good health.


Research, including a ground-breaking report from the President's Cancer Panel, shows that consuming organic foods is a great way to reduce exposure to toxic and persistent pesticides.


When your health and the health of your family is on the line, remember: organic. It’s worth it.


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