USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC
What you think it means: 100% organic, no GMO seeds, no pesticides or herbicides, seeds and food were not irradiated, and no synthetic fertilizers were used.
What it really means: All of the above assumptions would be correct. The farmers who get the Certified Organic Seal have to do AN INSANE amount of paper work, including tracing and recording all of their farming practices. Because the process to get the seal is so onerous, some organic farmers choose not to get it. It’s important to note, however, that organic does not equal local. Meaning, you can buy an organic vegetable shipped from half way around the world. (As a fun/weird/gross/interesting aside, this Radiolab podcast explains how sewage sludge fertilizes our organic crops!) [peekaboo_content]
Take away: The USDA Organic Seal does not come easily and “it really means something” in the words of Laurie David. However, it bears repeating, organic does not necessarily mean local. Also, it’s equally important to note that produce at a Farmer’s Market may be local, but not organic. When it comes to shopping for organic at a Farmer’s Market, it has to say ORGANIC. If you’re not sure, ask.
THERE ARE ALSO OTHER 3 OTHER CATEOGORIES OF ORGANIC:
1) Organic (no mention of the word “certified”) means 95-99% of the ingredients are organic.
2) “Made with organic ingredients” on the front of a food package means 74%-94% of ingredients are made from organic ingredients.
3) “Organic” only on the information panel means 73% or less of the ingredients are organic. [/peekaboo_content][peekaboo]Content [/peekaboo]