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How Can You Tell If Your Produce is Actually Organic?

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

Soon they'll be popping up everywhere…
Farmers markets advertising they have organic produce.
But how can you tell if you're getting the real thing?

“Organic is a true usda label, just like you have usda certified meat, an organic farm will be usda certified.” Wiregrass extension agent Neil Kelly said.

Meaning organic farmers will have this label on each veggie or fruit.
But how can you make sure the labels are authentic?

“It will have a certification number and you can check that back to the usda website.” Kelly said.

Kelly says it takes lots of money and time to become an organic grower.

“It can be a quite extensive process to get that organic certification, and you are what they consider a certifying agent.” Kelly said.

Organic growers should have no problem showing you their credentials.
They may also be able to help you with organic misconceptions....

“You hear a lot of times oh, organics is pesticide and herbicide free well that’s actually not true. We use pesticides, herbicides in all of our different production systems. It’s just the organics have to go by a certain list. “ Kelly said.

However the chemicals that are used on organic produce are not as harsh as those used on non-organic.

“There are several things that come into play there. Obviously one has to do with the compounds that they're made of. Whether it might be a synthetic compound or whether it might be a recurring compound.” Kelly said.

And Kelly says if you're trying to avoid pesticides all together, you shouldn't be looking for organic produce, but rather naturally-grown products from home gardens.

Organics have become big over the last decade, and the industry has been growing roughly 10-percent every year.


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