Organic, Said Who?

One of the biggest topics of conversation when it comes to healthy eating is organic food. Since this is my first content post, I’ll start with some basics. Organic labeling and standards are managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), largely through the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). They are a Federal Advisory Board made up of 15 volunteers who make recommendations about organic products.

Members are appointed for five-year terms and their bi-annual meetings are free and open to the public via in-person OR written comments. The next meeting date is on the important dates page, so you can be reminded to prepare and submit comments. I know I’m not your mom, but for real…if you have something to say, tell people that matter instead of Facebook ranting. It’s way more productive. That’ll do for my preaching in this post.

Now we can move on to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Reviewing and updating this list is one of the responsibilities of the NOSB. Every substance on the list is looked at once every five years, which is called the Sunset Review. Anyone can submit a petition to amend it (hint hint). Generally, synthetic substances are prohibited, and non-synthetic substances are allowed unless specified. That’s what the list is for. Make sense?

In addition to the National List, there are some methods or procedures that are not allowed in order to receive organic certification. This includes ionizing radiation, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge (also called biosolids). I’ll go further into these methods in later posts, but I’ll leave you on that tidbit for today. Hope it was helpful and stay tuned for next time.

Update: You can read more about ionizing radiation, genetic engineering, and biosolids in the linked posts, and more about organic labeling here. You can also read about organic milk here.

Image by: Sydney Zentz

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