What is Organic Food?
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; petroleum- based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers; bio-engineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled USDA organic, a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
|To obtain this symbol the food must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water and salt.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture "Certified organic" means that agricultural products have been grown and processed according to the specific standards of various State and private certification organizations. Certifying agents review applications from farmers and processors for certification eligibility, and qualified inspectors conduct annual onsite inspections of their operations. Inspectors talk with operators and observe their production and processing practices to determine if they are in compliance with organic standards that, for example, virtually prohibit synthetic pesticide use in crop production and require outdoor access for animals in livestock production.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put in place a set of national standards that food labeled USDA organic must meet, whether it is grown in the United States or imported from other countries. After October 21, 2002, when you buy food labeled USDA organic you can be sure that it was produced using the highest organic production and handling standards in the world.
Visit the following links to learn more about organically grown foods:
NC Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The organic certification cost share program will be funded through the Farm Bill recently passed by Congress. The Department has not received funding or direction on how the program will operate at this time. We will post the details and application for cost share reimbursement as soon as the program is available in North Carolina. Check back for updates.
Mail forms and letters to:
Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist
North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services
1020 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1020