At one point in history, all produce was “organic.” There were no chemical, pesticides, or sewage sludge used on the plants; genetically modified foods and irradiated foods were non-existent; and there was no need for the government to inspect the farms. As the industrial revolution began to take place chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers began to be use on farms to increase productivity. Organic farming was part of the “Green Revolution” that can be traced back to the 1940’s. Organic farming is a term used to describe “holistic and ecological” farming. Small specialty health food stores and co-operatives were essential to increasing the organic awareness and the main source of these foods. As this type of farming continued thrive the demand became greater and the government found it essential to established guidelines for these foods and monitor their products.
Foods that are certified organic must adhere to organic farming standards. Organic farms must meet the 1990 “Certified Organic” requirements created by the FDA. The farms are inspected to ensure that they are following regulations. These inspectors work for the state or private agency accredited by the USDA, and the inspector holds food producers to the production standards of the USDA’s National Organic Program.
- Do NOT use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers
- Do NOT plant genetically modified seeds
- Do NOT use fertilizer from sewage sludge
- Do NOT treat seeds or food with irradiation
- Do NOT have harmful microbes in their manure fertilizers
- Must have access to pasture
- Must eat organically grown feed
- Must have humane treatment
- No Growth hormones are not permitted (animals receiving antibiotics must be removed from the organic operation)
- DO keep records and paperwork for the inspectors from the USDA
- DO have inspections on a regular basis
These requirements decrease the risk of outbreak or infection resulting from the organic food.
Nestle, Marion. “What to Eat” 2006. North Point Press. New York.