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What Exactly is "Organic"?

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The term "Organic" seems to be the buzzword on all products for both people and pets. But is it "just" a marketing term printed as an enticement to get you to buy or, is it really true? Are there standards set by the government to ensure there is "truth in advertising"? 

Recently, we attended an Avian Seminar at which the topic of transitioning of livestock to organic was discussed. I can't speak for all states but according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA); here are the specifics: 

Dairy One-Year Herd Conversion

  • Feed: Must be fed 100% organic feed for one year. 
  • Antibiotics: Prohibited for 1 year prior to milking. After conversion, they are prohibited. 
  • Hormones: Except for ocytocin, they are prohibited for 1 year prior to milking and after certification. 
  • Vaccines: May use approved vaccines and biologics as needed. 
  • Pasture: Must have access to pasture. 

Poultry (Meat and Eggs): 

  • Feed: Must be fed 100% organic feed from the second day of life.
  • Antibiotics: Prohibited. 
  • Hormones: Prohibited.
  • Vaccines: May use approved vaccines and biologics as needed.
  • Living Conditions:Must have access to the outdoors. 

Slaughter Stock (Beef, Dairy, Hogs, Sheep, etc.)

  • Feed: Must be fed 100% organic feed from the last third of gestation. 
  • Antibiotics: Prohibited. 
  • Hormones: Prohibited except for oxytocin. 
  • Vaccines: May use approved vaccines and biologics as needed.
  • Pasture Requirements: Must have access to the outdoors. Organic pasture is required for ruminant livestock. 

Obviously there is much more to this transition however, it was interesting to understand the steps that must be taken.  Next time in the grocery or pet store, I'll feel much more confident in my purchase.  


 


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