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Home > Health Library > Organic Foods
Food that is labeled "organic" has been grown or raised without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pest killers (pesticides), weed killers (herbicides), hormones, or drugs. Synthetic means that they are made in a lab.
This means that farmers and ranchers who grow organic food:
Some countries, including the United States, have rules that govern when a farmer or rancher may use the organic label. Before a grower can use that label, a government inspector goes to the farm to make sure that the rules are being followed.
Don't assume that food labeled "natural," "sustainable," "hormone-free," or "free-range" is organic. Look for the USDA organic seal.
You may have these questions about organic food:
Food grown with pesticides can have small amounts of pesticide left on the food when it gets to the store.
If you are concerned about pesticides on your food, here are some steps you can take:footnote 2
Committee on Nutrition, and Council on Environmental Health (2012). Organic foods: Health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics, 130(5): 2012–2579. DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-2579. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2013). Consumer concerns about foods and water. Understanding Nutrition, 13th ed., pp. 623–651. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Current as of:
September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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