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How Organic Are You? Test Your Knowledge of USDA Organic Standards

Test your knowledge about USDA-certified organic foods.
By Natural Home Staff
September/October 2003
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1. Can a certified organic food be irradiated?
a) Yes
b) No

2. How much of a product’s content must be made of certified organic ingredients to use the “Made with Organic” label?
a) 100 percent
b) 70 percent
c) 85 percent

3. What non-food crop is the most pesticide intensive?
a) pine trees
b) cotton
c) flax

4. Which fruit contains the heaviest load of pesticides when grown conventionally?
a) peaches
b) pineapples
c) blueberries

5. What standards must be met for meat and dairy products to be certified organic?
a) The animals eat only 100 percent organic feed.
b) The animals are not treated with antibiotics.
c) Both a and b.


1. b) No. Certified organic foods cannot be irradiated, genetically engineered, or treated with sewage sludge.

2. b) 70 percent. If the label states the item is “made with organic items,” the food must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients by weight. There are two additional USDA designations: “100 percent organic” (all ingredients are organically produced) and “organic” (at least 95 percent of a food’s content is organic by weight).

3. b) Cotton. In the United States, cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop.

4. a) Peaches are highly contaminated fruits if they’re not organic. Pineapples and blueberries actually have the fewest pesticide residues when grown conventionally, according to the Environmental Working Group.

5. c) Feed for the animals must be 100 percent organic, and no antibiotics can be used for growth stimulation or health problems.

Source: Organic Trade Association

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