Our next post was written by guest blogger – Michael Rich, Safety Services Company

¡ Viva la revolución verde ! or the green revolution refers to the surge in usage of man-made substances and genetically engineered seeds between in 40’s and 70’s to increase yields.

It is from this revolution organic farming grew.

Organic farming is the production of food without the use of modern synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizer, irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.

Although the popularity of organic foods has soared in recent years with the opening of stores like Trader Joes, Sprouts, Whole Foods and others, scientific evidence has yet to draw a significant difference between organic and more conventionally grown food in terms of safety, nutritional value, or taste.

To regulate the ever growing organic industry many countries including, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, India, and all of the European Union, require organic producers to receive special certification to label their products as organic.

In the United States organic farmers are certified by the Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP).

The NOP covers food products, including crops and livestock. It does cover non-food products that may be sold as organic.

Basic requirement for certification include a company comply with the act and produce foods without chemicals, establish a certified organic production handling system, permit on-site inspections and maintain a minimum of five years of records in regards to the organic production of food products.

Once meeting this certification companies may label there food as 100 percent organic, organic or made with organic ingredients. Here is a look at the definitions of the three terms.

Products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients and processing aids.

Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. Any remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural approved substances.

Processed products containing at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” and list up to three of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. For example, soup made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients and only organic vegetables may be labeled either “soup made with organic peas, potatoes, and carrots,” or “soup made with organic vegetables.”

For more info on the U.S. organic program visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop