The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, explains the definition of organic food as food that is produced and distributed without the use of pesticides, fertilizers or artificial ingredients. So basically, nothing is added to organic foods, and nothing is taken away either. These foods are grown and farmed organically using sustainable practices, which often produce a higher quality of foods because nothing significantly has been done to alter their state. The definition of organic food is important because there are varying levels of what constitutes organic foods according to both the USDA and to various other certifying agencies. For instance, some foods cannot be called organic food unless they have a certain percentage of organic ingredients. Others can be labeled as being made with a certain percentage of these organic ingredients, which must be labeled accordingly on the packaging. There are strict rules and regulations that fall under what constitutes organic foods, and so manufacturers and certifying agencies consistently work together to analyze the organic foods definition and make any necessary changes to it as the world continues to develop newer and more effective methods of producing these foods. Of course, the organic food definition can be and often is interpreted differently by consumers who read these labels, which sometimes leads to confusion among these consumers. But fortunately, because the USDA and others are publishing more useful and more detailed information about what makes organic foods organic and by how much, consumers have more options to explore. They may not get the chance to do this while reading the food labels at the grocery store, but they can certainly research them online before a shopping trip. Or, if they have smart phones on them and Internet access, they could visit the USDA’s website and the websites of other certifying agencies to understand what organic foods mean and how they are graded and to make good food choices. For some people, eating organic foods is an everyday thing. For others, it is an occasional thing to help break up the monotony of eating inorganic foods. For others still, it is something to avoid entirely for whatever reason. Everyone possesses their own insight into how important organic foods are to them, and luckily those with an interest in pursuing the topic further can explore these foods and what defines them online through a range of reputable resources, from certifying agencies to federal agencies to independent manufacturers of these products.
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