What Does Organic Food Mean?

What does organic food mean

Organic food is produced without the use of toxic pesticides containing heavy metals, insecticides, growth hormones and antibiotics.

The organic food does not contain chemical preservatives or genetically modified organisms or genetically edited DNA.

Furthermore, no irradiation, synthetic food additives or no GMO ingredients can be used in organic food production.

If a food product is labelled as organic, then its cultivation or raising in the case of animals should be following certain farming standards and methods.

The appropriate application of these farming standards is checked yearly by auditing bodies and a certification is awarded to the farmer or grower.

Only then the farmer can use the word ’organic’ on the product label.

organic food green

This is materialised by placing the Organic Leaf logo made by stars on the packaging as shown below along with a code related to certification body in the corresponding country.

According to the European Union legislation, the aim of organic food production is to use practices and methods of farming which protect the environment: soil, water, plants and animals.

In order to maintain soil fertility and plant and animal free from diseases, various approaches are used, namely:

  • crop rotation;
  • cultivation of nitrogen fixing plants and other green manure crops to restore the fertility of the soil.
  • prohibition of use of mineral nitrogen fertilisers;
  • to reduce the impact of weeds and pests, organic farmers choose resistant varieties and breeds and techniques encouraging natural pest control
Organic Farm Food

Such is the impact of conventional farming and agriculture that traces of toxic pesticides have been found in small rivers across Europe, and in US, pesticide residues are in 70% of produce (Guardian, 29/05/19).

The weedkiller Round up-glyphosate will never ever be used in an organic farming, as it is a synthetic toxic chemical and serious contaminant of the soil and water, including underground water reserves.

They will never contaminate the soil in such a brutal way.

Natural Does Not Mean Organic

Some manufacturers have been abusing the word “natural” as their product might contain chemical additives, preservatives and other ambiguous ingredients.

These food products are sold and/or advertised as ‘natural’ but in this case “natural” does not mean the food is grown or the animal raised according to the organic farming standards and practices and therefore it is not an organic certified food product.

Which food products can be named and certified as organic according to European Legislation?

We just quote relevant paragraph from European Commission under the title “Organic Production and products”:

European Union organic logo

European Union organic farming rules cover agricultural products, including aquaculture and yeast.

They encompass every stage of the production process, from seeds to the final processed food. This means that there are specific provisions covering a large variety of products, such as:

• seeds and propagating material such as cuttings, rhizome etc. from which plants or crops are grown;
• living products or products which do not need further processing;
• feed;
• products with multiple ingredients or processed agricultural products for use as food.

EU regulations on organic production exclude products from fishing and hunting of wild animals but include harvest of wild plants when certain natural habitat conditions are respected. There are also specific rules for wine and aquaculture.

There are some interesting pieces of research showing that the benefits from eating organic food can  be tremendous: avoidance of pesticides and heavy metals left as residues but also in case of organic meat and milk can have about 50%  more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat as they are unsaturated, than conventionally produced milk and meat. Also these 2 products, meat and milk, when they are produced organically do not contain synthetic hormones, which are linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Also, Pawel Glibowski in his article on Pubmed.gov mentions that a very serious health benefit from the consumtption of organic food ”consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products significantly reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and eczema in infants, respectively.” (2)


  1. Time Magazine : https://time.com/4871915/health-benefits-organic-food/
  2. Pawel Glibowski, Organic food and Health, 2020 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32519524/