Organic is a way of growing agricultural products or raising livestock. The processes used uphold the integrity of the farm and follow a high set of standards that guarantees specific practices are used for both food and non-food products.
For organic agricultural products, the organic label assures that the foods were grown without the use of toxins like pesticides and fertilizers.
Organic livestock must be grown without the use of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, or cloning, and are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation.
Packages that contain the USDA Organic seal may have up to 100 percent organic ingredients included.
While there is questionable evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods, organic foods do spare the consumer from ingesting numerous toxic pesticides. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and other diseases.
The organic food industry is growing exponentially from $1 billion in 1990 to $29.22 billion in 2011. Recently, the industry is growing roughly 10 percent every year.
Products labeled “organic” may reflect higher prices because the production process is often on a smaller scale with more labor- and management-intensive practices and stricter regulations.
Organic animals are often subject to the same torture as factory farming animals, minus the medicine, antibiotics, and other drugs.
While consumers reach for packages labeled “free range”, “natural”, or “organic”, it does not guarantee that the animals were treated properly. Most live in cramped cages amongst their waste, are subject to mutilation (dehorning, debeaking, castration), and are sent to factory feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughtering.
According to PETA, “natural” is virtually a meaningless word when labeled on meat packaging. It does not mean that the product is organic, rather is is free of artificial ingredients or added coloring.