Organic products and non-organic products have been a subject of interest for me for a great amount of time because I have often questioned whether there really was a difference between the two types of products. I always wondered what the nutritional, economic, laborious, and pollution differences were, if any, in the creation of the two types of products. Through research, I have found several sources of information which allow me to determine more than a physical difference between the two.
To start, labeling something as organic is specific and determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The regulations set are extremely specific and it is relatively difficult to meet the standards. The pesticides must be natural, and be part of the approved list established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (6). The crop must also be void of any prohibited substances for at least three years. The time limit is set to allow room for chemicals, which may have an effect on the crop, may reside over time to become less abundant. This is only a pre-requisite to even have the crop to be considered organic, meaning that the crop may still fail the certification of being organic. The crop that is used is also prohibited from going through genetic engineering.
For livestock to be labeled as organic, the animal must also go through several standards established by the USDA. As several non-organic livestock use a lot of types of medications, organic livestock may not be treated with prohibited medication, which is determined by the USDA. The livestock must also be allowed to have access to the outdoors. The only exception to this condition is that the animal may be contained based on its health, safety, stage of production, or protection of soil or water quality (6).
The ingredients used to produce a product must also be organic. The only exception to the use of organic ingredients is if they are not commercially available in organic form. This gives farmers the option to make their own organic ingredient or non-organic ingredient. The commercially unavailable ingredient is ignored when certifying the product as organic or non-organic (6).
A problem that arises in the certification of organic food is that there exists over 40 private organizations and state agencies that certify the production of food as organic. The standards for consideration of certification are still the same, but the requirements to receive the certification of an “organic” product may differ from agency to agency. For example, a pesticide may be approved by some agencies, while other agencies would prohibit it. This leads to some variance in the organic material a consumer purchases, and the product may turn out to be harmful to the individual (6).
If the product fulfills the requirements of being organically made, then it qualifies for having the option to place the USDA organic label on the package. However, if the farmer does...