Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
The weight of the available scientific evidence has not shown a consistent and significant difference between organic and more conventionally grown food in terms of safety, nutritional value, or taste.
For the vast majority of its history, agriculture can be described as having been organic; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new “chemicals” introduced to the food supply. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.
Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. In the United States, organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. If livestock are involved, the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. In the United States, a food can be labelled as “organic” if it contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. In most countries, organic produce also do not contain genetically modified organisms. It has been suggested that the application of nanotechnology to food and agriculture is a further technology that needs to be excluded from certified organic food. The Soil Association (UK) has been the first organic certifier to implement a nano-exclusion.