In 2017, the sale of certified organic food and products in the United States reached $50 billion and is expected to grow further. A study by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture estimated the global organic market would be worth $90 billion by 2018. As the demand for organic products increases and more land is certified as organic, it is estimated that about 178 countries have established some sort of organic farming. With an industry that has experienced consistent and extensive expansion, it makes one wonder what exactly defines a product as “organic” and what makes it better and more desirable to consumers. Where did the label of organic begin, and is it just a trend or is it here for the long haul?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic food is labeled as food produced by farmers who utilize renewable resources and conservation of the soil and water quality of the land. The produce is cultivated without the use of any synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or bioengineering. For dairy and meat products to be identified as organic, there can be no antibiotics or growth hormones given to the animal. A farmer or rancher can follow all of the above-mentioned guidelines, but cannot classify their product as “organic” until a government-approved inspector rules that the land meets all USDA organic standards. These fundamental approaches to farming take more time, resources and costs, which do not make the product a cost-effective option for most consumers.

The term “organic farming” was first used by Walter James in 1940, which evolved from his concept of “the farm as an organism,” which he described as a holistic and ecological balanced farming approach. The first traces of the organic movement can be found all the way back to the 1800s, but the modern organic movement that we know today began in the 1940s. This is when the agriculture industry was beginning to heavily rely on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Prior to 1990, establishing and monitoring organic standards were left up to state government, but when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990, national regulations and certification program were initiated. At first, the standards were extremely lax and vague, but as research has been collected and presented, the guidelines have become stricter and more defined.

Reed Food Technology is proud to be certified by the National Organic Program, which allows us to produce USDA-Certified organic food products. If one of our clients requests that their product be organic, we are able to source all necessary organic materials and mass-produce it properly. Whether organic or not, our overall goal is to deliver high-quality, cost-effective products to our customers while providing quick and accurate turnaround. We want to help you blend the art and science of good taste.

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