Ever wonder, when you’re paying a little extra for organic food, if it truly is organic? As of October 21, 2002, you’ll wonder no more: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put in place a set of national standards for organic food. To receive the government’s organic seal of approval, food must be produced without the use of most conventional pesticides, petroleum-based or sewage sludge-based fertilizers, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Government-approved certifiers will inspect farms and companies that handle or process organic food before they can display the label. The USDA has also developed strict labeling rules for processed food; a product must be at least 95 percent organic to carry the USDA organic seal.
For more information on the USDA organic standards, visit the USDA online or call (202) 720-3252.