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And even organic farmers have all sorts of contention with the code because it’s not necessarily consistent.
For example, cryolite, which is used as an insecticide, is no longer allowed to be used. At one time, it could be mined naturally and produced synthetically.
So there’s confusion and constant changes with the term “organic.” But for the most part, it simply means that if humans made the substance, it can’t be used.
2. No GMO Foods
This one works just like the previous: it’s true in most, but not all, cases. For now, it means no food can be called organic if it has genes from another plant or animal.
It also means you can’t call dairy or meats from animals organic if those animals have been fed GMO food.
However, foods can be called organic which have had their own genomes changed because they haven’t been crossed with genes from another plant or animal.
3. Sewage Can’t Be Used
Only non-organic farmers can use treated, sterilized sewage to fertilize their crops. After all, motor oil, cleaning agents, medications, and all kinds of chemicals could be found in there.
4. Weed and Pest Control
Of course, this is a huge one. Farmers typically use pesticides to control their insect problems.
But organic farmers don’t. Instead, they use plowing, weeding, pheromone traps, and environments that allow predatory insects to thrive.
Organic farmers can use certain pesticides, like those based on copper, sulfur, and oil.
You still get some exposure to pesticides. However, the amounts you get exposed to are well below EPA tolerances.
5. Crop Rotation is Required
Organic farmers must rotate the plant they farm to break up insect pest life cycles. For example, they might rotate among corn, alfalfa, and soybeans, switching between each on a yearly basis.
Organic farmers, for the most part, use composted manure as fertilizer. However, they can use nitrogen from South American salt mines, which also contains some salt, and is quite similar to synthetic fertilizer.
Conventional farmers use synthetic fertilizer, which is made from air and natural gas.
So, that’s not totally what it means to be “organic.” It’s actually highly complex to define what is organic.
But for now, you at least have a basic understanding.