Organic foods are produced
according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown
without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers,
human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without
ionizing radiation or food additives.
Livestock are reared without the
routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones.
Processed organic food usually
contains only organic ingredients, or where there are a number of
ingredients, at least a minimum percentage of the plant and animal
ingredients must be organic
The last few years have seen
significantly increased interest in organic food, that is, food grown
using those husbandry principles and techniques that predated the
introduction of modern agrochemicals and intensive farming methods.
These husbandry principles are now
applied with the benefit of modern scientific understanding and
technologies to give a more sustainable system of food production.
The production of organic food
requires the same involvement of professional food scientists and
technologists and is subject to the same requirements of good
manufacturing practice and food safety as the rest of the food industry,
but is also subject to specific additional legal requirements regarding
cultivation, composition and labelling.
Market & Report
Organic food sales have grown by
17 to 20 percent a year for the past few years
while sales of conventional food have grown at only about 2 to 3 percent
Industry estimates suggest that
nearly half of the $7.8 billion spent on organic food in 2000 was
purchased in conventional retail outlets.
Growing consumer demand for
organic products has been manifested in the market in many ways. Acreage
of certified organic farmland is increasing to meet growing consumer
According to the most recent
USDA estimates, U.S. certified organic cropland doubled between 1992 and
1997, to 1.3 million acres.
The new U.S. Department of
Agriculture standards for organic food, slated to be fully
implemented by October 2002, are expected to facilitate further
growth in the organic foods industry.
sales surpassed $1 billion in 2006, accounting for 0.9% of food sales in
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