Let's admit it: most of us have our own definition of 'organic' when we speak of organic foods. Some mean free of antibiotics, or pesticides, or irradiation, or - in the case of animals, access to the out of doors and humane treatment.
"Sales of organic foods are growing by 10-20% each year and more than 10% of fruits and vegetables sold now are organic" states the lead of an article discussion the growing national choice to find and eat organic foods. Nutrition Action Healthletter (October 2012) discussed how organic is defined with various food products. Here is a summary of their discussion.
Organic fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains = no synthetic pesticides, no irradiation, no synthetic fertilizers, not genetically engineered, and no sewage sludge applied.
Organic meat and poultry = access to out of doors, not irradiated, no growth hormones, antibiotics or other drugs, raised on 100% organic feed, and not fed animal byproducts.
Organic eggs= hens fed 100% organic feed, no growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs, not necessarily cage-free or free-range.
Organic milk = cows have access to out of doors, no growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs, all cows' feed for the past 12 months 100% organic, at least 30% of cows' diet from the pasture during the primary growing season.
Organic seafood = no current official U.S. standards,USDA is working on a standard for farm-raised seafood.
Packaged foods = "100% Organic" means that all ingredients are organic. "Organic" means that at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. "Made with organic ingredients" means that at least 70% of ingredients are organic.
Nutrition Action Healthletter is published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.