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Organic Foods

  • By: Kathleen Merrigan & Jennifer Obadia
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

There is no one simple definition of organic foods. In the United States, 1 of 90 countries with organic food standards, regulations detailing organic production requirements are hundreds of pages long, and to qualify for the organic label, adherence to every aspect is required. Despite this complexity, most organic standards worldwide share some major requirements: (a) food must be grown and processed without the use of most synthetic chemicals, irradiation, genetically modified seeds, and sewage sludge, and (b) it must be produced in systems that rely on crop rotation to break pest cycles and replenish soil fertility. Livestock must be fed organic feed, and the use of synthetic hormones and routine administration of antibiotics is prohibited.

For many years, the organic market was characterized by small ...

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