According my old college dictionary (good old Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Edition), organic is:
- of, relating to, or derived from living organisms
- relating to, yielding, dealing in, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without the employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics or pesticides
- of, relating to or containing carbon compounds
There are more variations of the definition but we’ll stop there.
In recent years, we’ve seen organic foods surface more and more in our grocery stores and market places. It is a certainly a sign that organic is more in demand which is a good thing.
Organic is the use of natural, biodegradable, recyclable and sustainable methods that promote long term balance and life.
For chicken feed to be labeled organic, it must be certified and USDA is the authority on organic certification in the United States. Specifically, The National Organic Program (NOP) develops and implements standards for organic agricultural products and they provide accreditation for the certifying agents.
There are many regulations surrounding the organic certifications. The main key is limiting to the maximum extent possible prohibited substances.
Prohibited substances include:
- sewage sludge
- ionizing radiation
- most synthetic substances
- certain non-synthetic substances
- non-organic agricultural substances except for approved vaccines
Provisions are included for land. For example, crops certified organic must be on land free from prohibited substances for more than 3 years. The land must be protected from “run-off” that may contain prohibited substances and there are parameters to maintain these buffers from prohibited substances.
Even with all the provisions, it’s important to understand that it is impossible to shield from everything. We live in a very connected ecosystem. The provisions are in place to provide the most organic setting possible.