Over the past decade, the concept of organic food has taken off in a big way. Today, just about every grocery store offers some selection of organic produce, and it is generally accepted that organic growing practices yield produce that is tastier, healthier and more environmentally-friendly than traditionally grown fruits and vegetables. While recent studies have found no significant difference in nutritional value between organic and non-organic produce, health-conscious consumers are still likely choose organic in exchange for the assurance that their food has not been exposed to dangerous chemicals.
But the truth behind the Certified Organic label is a little more complicated than we might like to believe. While it's certainly true that organic crops has been exposed to substantially fewer chemicals than their non-organic counterparts, consumers may be surprised to learn that synthetic chemicals continue to play a significant role in the cultivation of organic produce.
What Makes Produce 'Organic', Anyway?
In order for produce to be labeled USDA Certified Organic, the farm must undergo rigorous inspection and growers must provide documentation that their growing and handling methods fall within the guidelines of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Prohibited substances must be absent from the farm site for a minimum of three years before its produce can officially be labeled Organic.