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What is Organic?
The term ‘organic’ was first used by Northbourne, in 1940, in relation to farming, in his book ‘Look to the Land’.
Organic agriculture reinvigorated as an eco-agriculture in the 1970s and institutional strengthening and diversity became a part of the movement. Formation of IFOAM in 1972 indicated that the movement has matured and that it is going to strengthen and carve a niche for itself around the world of agriculture. Explosive growth of organic agriculture occurred only in the 1990s.
The IFOAM definition of organic agriculture is based on:
- The principle of health
- The principle of ecology
- The principle of fairness and
- The principle of care.
Organic food is produced through the adoption of farming methods that avoid the use of human-made fertilizers and pesticides, growth regulators and additives. Any product manufactured from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are barred from being classified as ‘organic.’ In today’s terminology, organic is a method of farming system that primarily aims to cultivate the land and raise crops in a way that keeps the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes – crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes – and other biological materials, along with beneficial microbes, i.e., bio-fertilizers, to supply nutrients to crops for improved sustainable production in an eco-friendly environment, devoid of pollution.
Sewage sludge, bioengineering, ionizing radiation, and most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers cannot be used in organic production. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are produced from animals that are fed 100% organic feed, without administering antibiotics or growth hormones, and raised in natural behavioral conditions. With regard to land, certified organic produce is grown on soil that has been devoid of banned substances for three years prior to harvest to ensure prevention of contamination of crops. By focusing on the use of renewable resources and conservation of soil and water, organic farmers strengthen and sustain the environment for future generations.
Moreover, national organic standards (NOS) also include regulations for organic processed products, including non-usage of artificial preservatives, flavors, and dyes. Organic ingredients are required; however, the National List contains some exemptions such as baking soda and yogurt enzymes. National Organic Program (NOP) standards include specific labeling rules for both produce and processed goods.
In Australia, the prescribed standard for organic products is determined by Australian Standard (AS 6000). This guideline was developed with a view to standardize practices within the organic industry. It aims to operate as a standard yardstick across Australia that regulates how people can grow, produce, distribute, market and label organic products. Through a uniform regulatory mechanism, consumers can comfortably distinguish whether a product is organic or not, without confusion. A seller of an organic product should ensure that his operations are compliant with this standard, while a buyer of organic products should watch out for the label that mentions whether the product complies with the AS 6000.
Certification is provided by several different private organizations in Australia that are accredited by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The consequences for falsely labeling products as ‘organic’ when they are not certified can be quite serious. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) protects consumers in Australia from false or misleading representations made by sellers. Consumers have every right to know whether what they are buying is organically sourced and produced, be it from an ethical standpoint, or health or religious reasons.
Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)
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|The URI of Organic (more about URIs)|
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