It seems a little late to be asking the question, what is organic food? However, although we’ve been lucky enough for decades to find sources of organic food, and have discussed it with a few industry folk, when it comes down to defining the term organic food, that definition is at best a little hard to pin down.
After all, we all have a general idea — food without additives, hormones, pesticides, is not shot full of chemicals, antibiotics or other toxic stuff. Clean food that’s good for you. But that is not a definition based on organic standards.
So I figured it would be a simple thing to use this big Internet to find the data. And I did.
First, I hopped over to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website where I found the National Organic Program. From there, I found NOP Regulations (Standards) & Guidelines. Good enough! I went there, then clicked on Standards, and got a page with yet more links — aha! — I clicked on View Entire Standards (PDF). And found that it’s an Adobe Acrobat file unpleasantly comprised of some 554 pages. I started to see the problem here.
The labeling requirements of the new program apply to raw, fresh products and processed foods that contain organic ingredients. Foods that are sold, labeled, or represented as organic will have to be produced and processed in accordance with the NOP standards.
It’s pretty short and sweet, although not in the kind of detail I’d sought. I’d post the whole thing here, but I’m not too crazy about the idea of copyright infringement, let alone against the U.S. Government, so click on the link to read it.
Just to be thorough, I also found the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) – PART 205 – NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM, in case you’d like to read online. Be my guest.
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