What Is Organic?

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Regardless if you are into a healthier lifestyle, you are a vegetarian for ethical, or environmental reasons, implementing organic products in your daily diet can complement your beliefs and goals. In the most basic sense, organic means grown or raised naturally. For crops, this means that no prohibited chemicals, sewage sludge, radiation, or genetic engineering are used on the product. For organic animal products like eggs, dairy, and meat, there is an additional aspect: the chickens and cows are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. (When organic animals get sick, they are of course given antibiotics, but their organic classification is permanently revoked.)

The USDA defines organic as Organic agriculture is defined as "an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony.

The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people." At the same time, organic agriculture does not make claims that a product is free of something, nor does it render judgment about the quality, safety or nutrient value of a product.

Source: USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and Laura K Lawless, creator and author of The Veggie Table - Vegetarian Recipes and Info.

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