Organic food is the most heavily regulated food system in the U.S. Only organic guarantees no toxic persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO’s are used in production, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are given to livestock.
The USDA states “Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected every year. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise.” USDA Label more info
Recent studies have found that organic fruits, vegetables, and grains have more antioxidants, fewer nitrates and cadmium and fewer pesticide residues than non-organic crops, making them more nutritious. Cambridge.org
It means that if pesticides are used on organic farming they must be derived from natural sources, not synthetically manufactured. Many of the synthetic pesticides have carcinogens in them.
Soil health is the capacity of soil to function as a living system, with ecosystem and land use boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and promote plant and animal health.
The best way to ensure your food is GMO-free is to buy organic. GMO’s are prohibited from the production and processing of organic foods. Genetically modified food has not been independently tested for their long-term effects on our health.
No sewage sludge
Many conventional farmers spread sewage sludge as fertilizer on their fields. Sewage sludge includes anything that is flushed, poured or dumped into the waste water system. Organic farmers are prohibited from using sewage sludge on their fields. Sewage Sludge
You’ve heard about antibiotics in conventional livestock production, right? Well, conventional livestock production has contributed to the development of anti-biotic resistant strains of harmful and dangerous microbes.
Organic farmers will only treat their livestock as a last resort with antibiotics. And if they do receive an anti-biotic they will lose their organic certification.
Humane Animal Treatment
If you are an organic farmer or rancher, you must meet the health and wellness requirements. Organic farmers give their livestock year round access to the outside, fresh air, shade, space for exercise, clean drinking water, shelter, clean and dry bedding and direct sunlight.
All livestock must be fed 100% certified organic feed
Organic farmers use methods to promote soil health, minimize water use, and lower pollution levels on the farm. Consumers and retailers concerned with sustainability can look for “values-based” foods that are grown using methods promoting farm worker wellbeing, are environmentally friendly and strengthening the local economy. Union of concerned Scientists Explain
Organic food cannot be irradiated (exposed to radiation). Irradiation damage to quality of food by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals.
No Hormones or Pathogens
Organic farming does not contain animal by-products which could have been contaminated with pathogens. Organic livestock have lower levels of pathogens due to high animal welfare standards. If you are eating organic meat, you are very unlikely eating food that contains antibiotic residues or pathogens.
Look for labels such as these below: