organic food

What Does Organic Mean?

When it comes to food, organic refers to food that was grown or made without the use of harmful chemicals and processes. Specifically, organic products disallow the use of synthetic fertilizers, ionizing radiation, GMO (genetically modified organisms), pesticides,  or sewage sludge.  When it comes to meat, dairy products, poultry and eggs, organic products are forbidden from the use of antibiotics and or growth hormones.

How Ordinary People Define Organic?


“An untouched source of goodness from our Mother Earth.”

“Food grown without the use of chemicals and with as little interference or alteration as possible; food produced using natural, healthy ingredients without resorting to artificial methods or additives. Simply stated, if it doesn’t exist in nature and if our ancestors didn’t eat it, it’s probably not food.

“As the “grand creator” perfectly originated it for our bodies to recognize and thrive from.”

“Real Food”

“Food grown from non-genetically modified seed, using no chemical pesticides.”

“Food as nature intended.”

“Before organic food was labeled “organic”, it used to be just called food. Organic is the traditional method of making food.”

“Organic.. or as your grandparents called it – Food! Purely as nature intended.”

“Plants grown in harmony to benefit each other without the use of man made materials.”

“Food my Grandparents ate.”

How do I know if something is organic?

Products that are organic are typically labeled as such. However, for a product to be labeled organic it has to follow strict USDA regulations and become certified. Here are three USDA labels that you may see on the products:

100% organic – All ingredients are organic. May use the USDA organic seal (optional).

Organic – At least 95% organic ingredients are organic. May use the USDA organic seal (optional).

Made with organic ingredients – At least 70% certified organic ingredients. The remainder has some limits, including a restriction on genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Cannot use the USDA organic seal.

Products that have less than 70% organic ingredients are not allowed to make claims on the front of the package, however it may list organic ingredients on the information panel.

Is Organic different from Natural?

Absolutely. Organic is a term that is regulated by the USDA. A product has to have certified organic ingredients and make them a certain way that meets the required standards, to be called organic. However, the term natural is quite vague and simply refers to something that does not contain artificial flavors, added color,  or synthetic substances. This means natural products can contain GMOs and animals may be injected with antibiotics, growth hormones and more. Learn more.

Does Organic mean Better?

Organic products have higher standards, thus more times than not this results in higher quality products. Its no wonder that more and more top notch restaurants and chefs are using organic ingredients for their meals.

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Paul T
Paul T

Organic has two definitions (neither are the one above). The definition from biology is anything that has to do with an organism. The definition from Organic Chemistry is any molecule the contains hydrogen and carbon. The USDA came up with a term Organically Produced for food produced with an approved list of fertilizers, feeds, and pesticides. Shortening “Organically Produced” to “Organic” is entirely inappropriate.