Confused by labels on products where you shop? If you are seeking products produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics, and genetic engineering, the USDA Organic label is the one to choose.

In fact, as more consumers clamor for foods produced without the use of genetic engineering, the quickest way to fulfill this desire in the absence of GMO labeling is to look for the USDA Organic label. This is because organic production and processing practices prohibit the use of genetic engineering (GE). Thus, organic is the gold standard for non-GMO—and for much more.

"No matter what organic products you choose to buy—from fruits, vegetables and dairy products to apparel, nutritional supplements, personal care and cleaning products—you are supporting the overall health of our planet."

Organic is different than all other labels, and delivers what more and more of you are seeking. For instance:

  • Food and farming without toxic and persistent pesticides protect families, farmers and waterways from exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • By law, organic foods are produced without the use of GE ingredients. If you want to avoid GMOs, just look for the Organic seal.
  • Only organic meat and dairy products guarantee across the board that food is not laden or produced with antibiotics or synthetic hormones.
  • Organic farm animals are raised with access to the outdoors with exacting care given to their health and welfare.
  • In addition, each organic acre and mouthful of organic food reduce the impact of global warming by using less petroleum and storing extra carbon in the soil.
  • Because of national organic standards, there is a certification system in place to ensure that products sold in the United States bearing the USDA Organic label deliver all these benefits and more.

Buying organic on modest means

While there is growing momentum for organic sales, the overwhelming reason people give for not purchasing organic is because they believe it is too expensive. There are many ways families can enjoy all-organic meals every day for about the same cost as conventionally produced food. With proper planning and preparation, families of four can enjoy three organic meals every day for less than $25, according to tips and recipe suggestions offered by the Organic Trade Association (the leading voice for U.S. organic trade) and The Organic Center (the trusted source of information for scientific research about organic food and farming). Families who eat all organic on a budget can enjoy the nutritious, sustainable benefits that organic diets offer and the integrity and reliability that comes with the USA Organic seal.

"Families who eat all organic on a budget can enjoy the nutritious, sustainable benefits that organic diets offer and the integrity and reliability that comes with the USA Organic seal."

A plethora of benefits

The environmental benefits organic production provides are well documented. Organic farms protect bee populations and ensure the biodiversity of other pollinators, amphibians, plants, birds and fish. Organic management also improves soil quality by increasing microbial diversity, boosting chemical and physical soil properties, as well as nutrient content. Additionally, many of the pollution issues we are facing today—such as nitrogen pollution and climate change—could be mitigated by converting conventional farms to organic, because organic production is less energy intensive and results in less reactive nitrogen runoff.

The health benefits of eating an organic diet are also emerging. Not only does organic allow people to avoid toxic pesticides and animals raised with antibiotics and growth hormones, minimizing exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such products as organic dairy and produce can contain higher nutrients and antioxidants than conventional food.

No matter what organic products you choose to buy—from fruits, vegetables and dairy products to apparel, nutritional supplements, personal care and cleaning products—you are supporting a system of agriculture that is beneficial to farmers who grow the crops, to processes who turn these crops into products for you, to communities where bees, the soil and water systems are thus protected, and to the overall health of our planet.

By Laura Batcha
CEO/ Executive Director, Organic Trade Association
editorial@mediaplanet.com