Organic

The "Organic" label is a federally regulated certification signifying that a product, its producer, and the farmer meet the USDA’s National Organic Program’s production and handling standards and that they are certified by a USDA-approved food-certifying agency. Organic certification is only mandatory for farmers making over $5,000 in organic products per year, although low-income farms using the term "organic" are required to submit documentation of practices if requested. Under organic standards, labeled foods cannot be grown using sewage sludge or certain synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. Organic meat and poultry must be fed only organically-grown feed (without any animal byproducts) and cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics. Although the standards do not strictly proscribe production practices in relation to animal confinement limitations or time spent outdoors, animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants must have access to pasture (which does not actually indicate whether the animals go outdoors and graze on pasture; see also "USDA Certified Organic".) Some small farmers wishing to avoid the cost of certification choose to forgo the use of the term "organic," yet still meet organic standards. For more information, visit our "Organic" page, or the official National Organic Program website.