What Does It Mean for Foods to Be USDA Organic?

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When shopping for groceries, you’re likely to see the word ‘organic’ mentioned in various products. However, what does the term mean in reference to the USDA label? By learning the definitions of terms like this in the grocery market, you can make more informed decisions when standing in front of shelves in the future.

What’s the USDA Organic Label?

If you see a bag of carrots, for example, and it contains the USDA Organic label, this means that it has the seal of approval from the United States Department of Agriculture. No, the department doesn’t go around the world checking every single carrot. Instead, it sets standards for farmers. If farmers follow the growth and processing standards laid out by the organization, they’re allowed to add the USDA label to products.

What are the federal guidelines laid out for farmers? Among other things, it includes:

The USDA label is used so that consumers can be sure of choosing the highest quality products when in stores. As a universal system, you can travel to any part of the country and look for this label on a bag of carrots.

When you see the USDA Organic label, you know that it has grown on soil without synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, and other prohibited substances. The USDA requires that farmers avoid these types of products for three years before the harvest in question. Therefore, they can’t even put the organic label on produce grown in soil that had pesticide two years earlier.

Of course, organic meats also fill the shelves in the United States, Australia, and many other countries. So, what does this mean? Once again, farmers need to meet certain standards before they can use the seal on products. For instance, facilities that produce organic tea Australia, need to meet strict standards. No animal should be forced to live in conditions that limit its natural behaviours; this includes grazing on pasture.

Additionally, the USDA requires farmers to avoid hormones and antibiotics while also feeding animals 100% organic forage and feed. By following these measures, the USDA ensures that all products around the world carrying the organic label meet the right standards. In other words, those who seek organic foods can find them with ease.

As well as grown foods and meats, you may also see the label on multi-ingredient foods. How does the USDA monitor these sorts of products? For one thing, organically processed foods cannot contain artificial colours, artificial preservatives, or artificial flavours. Though there are a small number of exceptions, all products must also contain organic ingredients.

What are the exceptions? Some ingredients away from the agricultural world have approval including pectic in fruit jams, enzymes for yoghurt, and baking soda for various baked foods.

Importance of the USDA Organic Label

For many years, consumers questioned the integrity of food manufacturers. Various scandals sent shockwaves around the globe and suddenly people didn’t know who to trust. Which products were safe? Could we be sure of what certain products contain? The USDA Organic label provides this security and allows people to make more informed decisions.

With matters like organic ingredients only growing more important for consumers, more and more manufacturers are desperately working to improve their practices and use the label on products. As consumers, everybody then has better access to high-quality, truly organic foods. If a food product carries the USDA Organic seal, it meets the criteria to be labelled as such!

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