What is the difference of organic and non-organic?
Big Question! I trust whatever Marion Nestle has to say about Organics, it's a very hotly debated issue, some people really believe in buying only organic, some people prioritize local foods over organics and more. Marion is very opinionated, but reading her blog is a good way to get a feel for the issues :
and technical definitions can be found here :
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop (this one is a little less govt-y and a little more readable)
That is actually incorrect. Of all of the qualifiers that people slap on their foods, "local" "sustainable" "whole grain" "natural" etc. "Certified Organic" actually IS regulated by the USDA. To be labeled organic, the food MUST meet certain guidelines that are actually rather strict :
Just because a food is Certified Organic doesn't mean that people working the fields got fair wages, or that animals were treated humanely (though it does likely mean they were treated a little better than most), or that it's healthier for you. It means that it's been made with out scary pesticides. I buy Organics whenever possible, but they aren't the end-all be-all solution to the problems with our food system by any means. They're a baby step in the right direction.
I am a certified organic producer and have been since the NOP came into being in 2002. I work with about 500 certified organic farms world wide and bare none, the USA program has the highest standards in the world. For example, livestock in Europe is allowed to be treated with antibiotics and still be called organic. In the USA, any organic livestock treated with antibiotics must be removed from the program and sold as commercial. There are human standards for livestock, but done on a certifier level. That is changing with the National Organic Standards Board putting together more definitive standards that will become a National standard soon. I take great offense to remarks that the NOP standards are just baby steps. . . .I would suggest that you need to spend time working an organically certified farm to see see that the standards required are no baby steps. It is the only verifiable food program in the USA . . .vs natural, which has no standards or verification by any one.
Hi Usuba Dashi! Thank you for weighing in - it's great to hear from an actual producer! I didn't mean to belittle the wonderful steps that farms who take the plunge and become certified organic take at all! As I said in my post, I always buy organics over conventional. I simply meant that culturally speaking -- as in, in terms of Americans' relationship with food & eating, with cooking and the greater food system, their understandings of nutrition, balance and the importance of pleasure -- we still have a long way to go.