How do you know if the local foods are organic

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How do you know if the local foods are organic

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Everyone now has available to them a Farmer's Market or a community garden or a CSA. The question for parents is how do you know that that food is any better than what you might get in the supermarket? And the answer is you can't know unless there's a certified organic label on it. The USDA symbol is actually a symbol of law. And frankly it took many of us in the industry about 12 years to get it through Congress. There were a lot of opponents who didn't want us to have it, because it effectively tells you the difference between the foods with the symbol and the foods without. Now there's certified organic and there's organic. When you go to the Farmer's Market, ask. Now sometimes the farmers will tell you, we are actually practicing organic, but we haven't gotten the seal yet. Or we've decided not to pay for it. That's actually a legitimate answer. So ask them what makes you organic? To be fair, small producers don't always have the symbol. But the one guaranteed way you can know is organic. And the only way is to see the USDA symbol. At my local Farmer's Market, most of the producers - grapes strawberries, peaches, and all the vegetable producers - will actually have the symbol right there on their booth. And that gives you the 100% guarantee. And you should know, by the way, that when you see the symbol, it's the real force of law. There are many, many farmers and food processors who have used the symbol illegally, who have claimed it, but not actually been doing the practices. And they've been found out. And they've been fined. And they are serious fines. And you can go to jail for misusing it. So unlike the world natural, which doesn't mean anything. I've often told people, there are ice creams that don't change shape when they melt, but they still say natural on the label, with organic you can know that it really does mean something.

View Gary Hirshberg's video on How do you know if the local foods are organic...

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Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg is Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and Managing Director of Stonyfield Europe. He is also the Chairman and Founding Partner of “Just Label It, We Have the Right to Know,” the national campaign to label GE foods. Gary has received twelve honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.

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