Some Clarification on Organic Labeling

The Ins and Outs of Organic Food Labeling

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
organic food labeling


  • The top reason people choose organic foods is to avoid pesticides, yet the myriad of regulations makes it difficult to know exactly what you are eating, especially when it comes to chicken, eggs and dairy
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes four categories of organic foods: those that are 100% organic, 95% organic, 70% organic and those that have some organic ingredients
  • When reading meat product labels, you must know the difference between free-range, cage-free, pasture-raised, grass fed and organic. They may sound similar, but they have very different meanings
  • If you’re familiar with the problems associated with conventional pasteurized milk, you may have started buying organic milk instead. However, manufacturers can use loopholes to add ingredients to grocery store milk. If you want to drink milk, consider using these sources to find raw, grass fed milk
  • Organic produce can be coated with Apeel, a chemical used to extend shelf life and disrupts the human and animal gut microbiome. The Apeel founder is entrenched in the World Economic Forum (WEF) and started with a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation

There are many benefits to buying and consuming organic foods. For some people, the primary reason is the inhumane treatment animals experience from the moment they are born to the minute they die. Cows, chickens, pigs, sheep and other animals can feel pain and experience strong emotions and yet they are treated as inanimate objects.

The unspeakable treatment these animals endure is one tactic used by globalists to push everyone, except maybe themselves, to eat bugs and lab-grown or 3-D-printed meat and other foodstuffs. But for most people, the principal reason for buying organic food is to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and genetically engineered ingredients.

According to a 2017 survey1 by Natural Grocers, over 90% of respondents said the main reason was to avoid pesticides and 70% said they did it to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While organically produced meat and produce are more nutritious, just 40% of Natural Grocers customers choose organic produce because they think it’s more nutritious.

The USDA has a 2024 operating budget of $24.46 billion. Inside this bureaucratic mountain of red tape and oversight exists the Agricultural Marketing Service, which administers domestic and international opportunities for farmers and ranchers. And inside that arm is the National Organic Program (NOP) that “develops then enforces national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold within the United States.”2

Despite rising consumer interest in purchasing organic products, the NOP’s operating budget to regulate the meat and produce organic market is $24 million, as compared to the $35 million allocated to the Packers and Stockyards program that regulates livestock, meat and poultry.

What Does ‘Organic’ Really Mean?

As Tenpenny notes, the organic labels on your meat and produce might not mean what you think they mean. According to information from the USDA, there are four USDA organic labels, and each has a different meaning.3

100% Organic — Food that qualifies as 100% organic must be made with 100% certified organic ingredients and may use the USDA organic seal or the 100% organic claim.

Organic — The term organic identifies a product or ingredients that must be certified organic except where non-organic ingredients are allowed that are specified on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. These must constitute no more than 5% of the combined total ingredients. An organic certification means that 95% is certified organic.

“Made with” organic ingredients — Products must have at least 70% of the product made with certified organic ingredients. The organic seal cannot be used, and the final product cannot be represented as organic.

Specific organic ingredients — Multi-ingredient products that have less than 70% certified organic content cannot display the organic seal or use the word “organic.” However, they can list certified organic ingredients on the ingredient list.

To obtain the organic seal, a farmer must have an organic systems plan that outlines how the farm operation satisfies the NOP requirements. This requires organic farmers to have a working knowledge of the multiple rules and regulations that encompass hundreds, if not over 1,000 pages. As Tenpenny notes,4 it can be an onerous task to keep track of the updates, including those that regulate where and how organic labels can be used.

How to Read Labels on Meat

The labeling process for meat products may be the most complex. The organic regulations prohibit labeling of any product that’s been contaminated with residue of GMO or bioengineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Regulations do not allow for any residue level to be able to use the organic seal.

The USDA regulations say that inspectors look at every component of the farm operation to trace products from start to finish, including seed sources, soil, water systems, contamination and co-mingling risks.5 This includes what livestock are fed, but does not describe where they are fed.

Let’s talk chickens. To be designated organic, chickens must be raised organically no more than two days after they hatch. Their food must be certified grown organically without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.6

This is what they’re fed but not how they live. Designation as free-range or cage-free describes how they live but not whether they’re organically raised. Tenpenny notes that free-range is a marketing term that just means the bird has unlimited access to food, water and some outdoor access for at least 51% of their life.

Cage-free means they can roam in a building or an enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water in overcrowded conditions. However, the definition of outdoor space is not defined, and cage-free hens typically do not have access to being outside.

The designations in the beef industry may be just as deceptive.7 Grass fed describes what the animal eats, but pasture-fed tells you where they ate it. Organic beef means that the cow eats organic feed and is not given antibiotics or hormones. This means that “grass fed” or “pasture-fed” beef may not be eating organic feed. To make this more complicated, pasture-raised and grass fed designations do not include whether the animal received hormones or antibiotics.

In the beef industry, the pasture-raised designation means that the animal had access to being outside for at least 120 days during the year. However, the outdoor designation can include living in a field or being outside in a small pen.

The pork industry has slightly more stringent regulations for USDA-certified organic designation.8 Pigs must be raised organically beginning in the last third of the sow’s gestation, not have antibiotics and growth hormone stimulants and must be processed by a USDA-certified organic processing plant. Additionally, organic pigs must have access to direct sunlight, exercise areas, fresh air and shade.

They must have clean dry bedding, and bedding using crop residue must be from organic crops. Additionally, their diet must be produced organically without any animal by-products, hormones or antibiotics. However, pigs are allowed to receive vaccinations, and according to a 2021 paper,9 the vaccination program begins at three to six weeks of age and continues through adulthood.

What Makes Eggs Organic and Humane

As Tenpenny points out, labeling should be transparent, but the food industry has made it mostly about marketing.10 Labels you might find on eggs include organic, free-range, cage-free and vegetarian. As I’ve written before, conventionally raised eggs are not the most nutritional or ethical available, and since they are an important part of a healthy diet, it’s a good thing to buy quality eggs.

Conventionally raised birds are typically loaded with antibiotics and hormones and fed poor-quality feed. The hens live in spaces the size of a sheet of paper and the vast majority are confined in battery cages.11 These animals are likely the most intensively confined animals, unable to spread their wings or exhibit any typical behavior. This is what the labels on eggs mean:12

  • Free-range — Free-range eggs do not need to be organic, since they don’t need to be fed organic feed. The term free-range identifies chickens who have limited access to the outdoors.
  • Organic — Eggs that are labeled organic must be free-range and must be raised on organic free of animal by-products but not necessarily bugs and worms, which is their natural diet. The birds must not receive hormones or antibiotics.
  • Other labels — Eggs can also be labeled all-natural, antibiotic-free or vegetarian. There are no strict rules about these labels so it’s up to the farmer to set the standards.

Organic eggs are typically the most expensive eggs at the grocery, but the added nutrition is worth it. The USDA-certified organic label means the eggs were sourced from farmers who follow strict standards.

Ashley Armstrong, cofounder of Angel Acres Egg Co., and I are working to overturn the conventional food system, starting with eggs. Angel Acres Egg Co. specializes in the production of low-PUFA (polyunsaturated fat) eggs. We discussed the importance of low-PUFA eggs in a recent interview, embedded below for your convenience.

They ship low-PUFA eggs to all 50 states — but there is currently a waiting list as she slowly increases the number of chickens within the network to fulfill the demand. More egg boxes will be available this spring, so join the waitlist for low PUFA egg boxes here.

Organic Dairy

If you’re familiar with the problems associated with conventional pasteurized milk, you may have started buying organic milk instead. Some milk brands on the shelf boast being DHA enriched, which a Washington Post article notes13 is accomplished by adding DHA omega-3 oil produced by corn syrup-fed algae.

If you want to drink milk, consider switching to raw, grass fed milk if you can get it. has a list of raw dairy farms in your area. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund14 also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.

Look for the AGA grass fed certification and search their website for AGA-approved producers that adhere to strict standards, including the cows being raised on a diet of 100% forage, never confined to a feedlot, never treated with antibiotics or hormones and born and raised on American family farms.

Organic Produce Can Be Coated in Apeel

Produce can only be labeled organic when it’s been grown in soil that has not had any prohibited chemicals applied for three years before the first harvest. Pesticides also cannot be applied directly to organic produce, with the exception of Apeel.15 Apeel is a chemical that’s been used on produce since 1996 to extend shelf life, but it also disrupts the human and animal gut microbiome.

The technology began with a $100,000 Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.16 Other investors have included the Rockefeller Foundation,17 the World Bank Group and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of the personal genomics company 23andMe.

Apeel Sciences founder, James Rogers, Ph.D., is an agenda contributor to the World Economic Forum (WEF)18 and a Young Global Leader. Among the articles he has written for the WEF is one in which he hailed COVID lockdowns as a model for future action on climate change.19 In other words, climate lockdowns.

I’m not the only one questioning the motives behind this product. “Is [Apeel] another Gates/WEF plot to destroy our health? Or a distraction from worse plots?” asked Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director at the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).20 Apeel appears to have slipped through some loophole at the USDA.

Here’s How to Break the Produce Label Code

So, how do you identify the fruits and vegetables you want to eat? Produce has a PLU label, which stands for price look-up. These are standardized codes used across the industry to manage the supply chain. There are more than 1,400 PLU codes assigned to a variety of produce, which you can use to help identify if the produce is organic or conventionally grown.

These codes are four or five digits long and any codes with more than five digits are not part of the standardized system. The next time you’re at the grocery store, spend a minute or two looking at the food labels in the produce department to identify produce that’s genetically modified, bioengineered or designated organic. Tenpenny lists the codes on produce you may want to consider:21

  • A four-digit code starting with the number 3 or 4 (3000 or 4000 series) is used for conventionally grown produce. This means synthetic fertilizers, chemicals and/or pesticides might have been used during the growth of the produce.
  • A five-digit code starting with the number 3 identifies fruits and vegetables that have been irradiated or electronically pasteurized.
  • A five-digit code starting with the number 6 identifies pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
  • A five-digit code starting with the number 8 is designated for fruits and vegetables that have been genetically modified or bioengineered.
  • A five-digit code starting with the number 9 is designated for organic fruits and vegetables.
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Changing Views on Healthy Foods, etc.

In health and nutrition, what’s old is suddenly new again


(NaturalNews) When it comes to health and nutrition, it seems like everything old is new again. Many foods or health protocols that used to be commonly enjoyed were later attacked and discredited by industry-funded “scientists” trying to sell toxic substitutes like vegetable oil or aspartame.

But as health awareness has radically increased over the last two decades, many “old” things are new again. In this article, I share my list on many of these “old” things which are suddenly back in vogue.

What’s old is suddenly new

• Local food – Before the rise of factory foods, nearly all food was local. As a result, it was also far healthier and more nutritious than today’s centrally-manufactured, distributed foods (think McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets).

Now, thanks to the rise of the local food movement, CSAs and farmers markets, local food is popular again. It also happens to be ecologically sustainable. If humanity is to survive the next century, it must do so by learning how to produce local decentralized food.

• Sunlight – Once praised as a health treatment all by itself, sunlight has been relentlessly attacked by dermatologists and the cancer industry who have encouraged massive vitamin D deficiencies across the population. But now, as the importance of vitamin D is coming back to light, more and more people are turning to sensible sunshine exposure as a powerful, genuine health treatment with remarkable anti-cancer benefits.

• Eggs – The vicious campaign attacking eggs — waged throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s — was based entirely on junk science and deceptive dietary advice. Whole eggs, it turns out, are very healthy when produced by truly free-range chickens that aren’t fed GMOs, pesticides and chemicals. Today, people recognize this again, and more people are not just buying eggs but even raising their own chickens (like I do).

• Butter – Like eggs, butter was also maligned by prostitute-scientists spreading Big Food propaganda to sell partially hydrogenated oils and “buttery spreads” or margarine. Today, however, society has finally come to realize that hydrogenated oils are poison. Real butter, it seems, is actually a whole lot better for you than fake butters. And margarine is now largely seen as cheap food eaten by low-income people who can’t afford real butter.

• Neti pots and nasal rinses – Used throughout human history, nasal rinsing is a practice traced back to the dawn of civilization. But during the rise of the antibiotics era, personal hygiene took a back seat to the more “scientific” protocol of taking antibiotics instead of just rinsing your sinuses. But the age of antibiotics is now coming to an end as physician-assisted abuse of antibiotics spurred the development and spread of deadly superbugs. Suddenly, rinsing your nasal passages with salt water seems a whole lot wiser than popping superbug-inducing chemical pills.

• Sugar – Cane sugar has been relentlessly attacked as the enemy of health. But it turns out that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are a lot more worrisome than sugar — especially if the sugar is minimally processed (evaporated cane juice crystals). High-fructose corn syrup is also now widely believed to be far more disease-promoting than cane sugar, and many people actually seek out sodas sweetened with real sugar rather than corn syrup.

• Eyeglasses – Contacts involve the use of cleaning chemicals which have preservatives that lead to eye irritation with long-term use. That’s why some people experience eye irritation and are now returning to using eyeglasses. Even though contacts made glasses “old fashioned” for a while, glasses are coming back into their own as many people find them more natural and comfortable than contact lenses.

• Natural hair color – For many people, the age of poisoning yourself with toxic hair dyes is over. Natural colors are back in style, and in many ways natural gray shows wisdom rather than a desperate, contrived effort to feign youth.

• Face-to-face conversations – During the rise of social media giants like Facebook, people thought it would be cool to connect with each other online. But now the truth has become obvious to nearly everyone: “connecting” online isn’t much of a connection at all. What people really crave is human interaction, not meaningless, electronically-fabricated social circles.

In addition, here’s a short list of a few other foods and health that are suddenly back in style:

• Red wine (and resveratrol)
• Raw milk
• Cloth diapers
• Plant-based diets
• Home schooling
• Full-spectrum healthy salts
• Avocados (which were long attacked as containing too much fat)
• Vitamin C
• Organic coffee

Artificial Eggs on The Horizon

Bill Gates GMO Zombie Eggs

Thursday, November 21, 2013 by: S. D. Wells

(NaturalNews) Are you eating fake eggs made in a laboratory? Who knew? This is like some mutated organism plasma-like “goo” from the movie “Alien.” Who in their right mind would dare eat it? Well, lots of people who don’t know that they’re eating it, that’s who. When will it be substituted and remain as such without labels or warnings in just about every egg-containing packaged item that is sold to the masses by Corporate America and infects the body with GM bacteria? Welcome to zombie food central and the inside story on this nightmare coming to grocery stores everywhere. Some say it’s already in the food. But wait, it’s made from plants! Didn’t you hear? It’s time to get brainwashed, again, by the richest people on the planet.

A radical “artificial egg” backed by Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel and the “infamous” Bill Gates goes on sale in US supermarkets for the first time. Made from plants, it can replace eggs in everything from cakes to mayonnaise – without a chicken in the equation whatsoever. The “Bio-tech food mutation” team today have already started selling their “plant egg”! It looks like it will be first sold at none other than the beloved “Whole Foods” in California – and some say it could “soon be available in supermarkets worldwide.”

How many products will contain genetically modified “plant” eggs? What could you accidentally bake with this synthetic science mystery? Will you make cookies or brownies for the kids? Will you slop some “bio” mayonnaise on your next sandwich, or will you pour some synthetic salad dressing on your greens? Will it be in all the pasta and bread or lumped into muffins for that “bouncy” quality that stays “fresh” so long? This synthetic nightmare will contain no real egg whatsoever. You know they’ll call it something real nifty too, like “Beyond the Egg” mayonnaise, or the “Incredible Scramble!” The name has to reflect the opposite of what it’s really all about.

That’s why GMOs are unlabeled in America, and saying that it doesn’t need to be listed in the ingredients means it’s the MOST dangerous ingredient mankind could know! Get it? Soon, aspartame will be in milk, unlabeled, and all those conventional milk worshipers will be consuming artificial sweetener on top of all those hormones, antibiotics and pus from the cow udders. That’s where conventional cheese is derived, so pay attention closely to the new FAKE eggs, and try not to eat “cancer” intentionally or unintentionally.

Of course, they’ll claim the nutritional values are the same. “They” being the regulatory organization that approves it (FDA/Monsanto), the companies that test it for health dangers (the manufacturers who make billions) and those scientific “peer-reviewed” tests (altered results) will be shared with the public (the shareholders) so that proper diet (pharmaceutical medications) can be addressed by the doctors who recommend it (surgeons and oncologists that work on you later). This is the nature of the GM beast.

Everyone should know doctors who have a degree in nutrition to get the right “news” and the right “advice” on how food affects your body, your mind and your health. Some doctors know the dangers of GMOs and will tell you all about it! ( Research more on this: “Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food.” (

Fake egg makers can’t seem to get that egg “bounce” right

They say they don’t have the right “bounce” yet, to make them feel like real eggs, so what will they use for that, gelatin? That would add to the toxicity and DNA damage to human cells, since gelatin comes from CAFO animals’ connective tissue. “We want to take animals out of the equation,” said Josh Tetrick, the firm’s founder. “The food industry is begging for innovation, especially where animals are involved – it is a broken industry.” You can say that again – now throw those eggs in the “trash compactor” with the other medical waste please.

Please realize, this is not a legitimate, healthy vegan alternative to eggs. The bigger questions still remain: Will the GM eggs contain bacteria from insects, or worms, or plants that are never supposed to be eaten? Also, since genetically modified organisms are not required to be labeled in the USA, will GM eggs be HUGE mystery, and could they cause cancer, birth defects or other gene mutations in humans? Don’t turn into a zombie. Don’t consume anything GM. Stay positive and informed. Eat only organic eggs! Don’t eat pesticide vegetables (GMOs) and never ever eat cancer.

Some Food Myths Busted

Don’t be brainwashed into believing these common healthy eating myths

Friday, June 28, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

NaturalNews) Formulating a healthy eating plan that is both balanced and nutritious can be difficult in today’s world, especially when the guidelines pertaining to what constitutes healthy food vary dramatically depending on who you ask. Consequently, there are several healthy eating myths of which you will want to be aware, particularly if you are in the process of trying to reformulate your dietary habits. These myths include:

1) ‘Low-fat’ is good for you. Modern society has largely been indoctrinated into the mindset that fat clogs your arteries and makes you fat, and should thus be avoided. But nothing could be further from the truth. Tropical oils like coconut and palm, as well as grass-fed butter and meat fat is actually quite healthy for you. These saturated fats help promote healthy brain function and regulate proper hormone production. Popular vegetable oils, on the other hand, which oftentimes are hydrogenated and morphed into trans fats, are a primary cause of heart disease and other illness, and should be avoided.

2) You need to eat less salt for better health. This claim assumes that most people are consuming high amounts of synthetic, refined table salt, which is highly toxic and responsible for causing widespread cellular inflammation, hence the many warnings about salt intake. But what most people do not know is that unrefined, all-natural sea and mineral salts are completely different, as they are packed with health-promoting minerals, electrolytes, and other important nutrients. Eating lots of sea and mineral salt, in other words, is actually good for your health.

3) Replacing refined sugar with agave, honey is better for you. In most cases, switching out that table sugar for honey or agave nectar in the name of improving health is a misnomer, as these popular sugar substitutes are sometimes just as refined and unhealthy as regular sugar. Agave, for instance, contains high levels of fructose, which is metabolized directly by the liver and turned into fat. And unless your honey is raw, unprocessed, and locally sourced, it is also a toxic offender when consumed liberally.

4) Eating eggs raises your cholesterol. The medical system has gone back and forth on this one, but the truth about eggs will always remain the same – pasture-raised eggs from healthy chickens are an excellent source of both protein and cholesterol, and are not in and of themselves a cause of heart disease. And removing egg yolks and eating only the whites, as many people now do, can actually be detrimental to your health, as eggs should be eaten in complete form for optimal nutrition.

5) Organic produce is no better than conventional produce. There are many who would have you believe that conventional produce grown on factory farms is no different than organic produce grown without synthetic interventions. But as evidenced by numerous studies over the years, including a 1993 study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, organic foods are higher in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and are far less contaminated with toxic pesticide and herbicide residues compared to conventional produce.

6) All red meat is unhealthy. The mainstream media loves to target red meat these days, but the problem with telling people to limit their consumption of red meat in order to avoid heart disease is that not all red meat is the same. In fact, red meat from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle is actually just as healthy as, and potentially even healthier than, wild-caught salmon. This contrasts sharply with factory-farmed red meat which is high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. It is all about how the animals are raised and what they are eating that determines the nutritional profile of meat in general, which is why it is always best to choose meat from local, naturally-raised sources.

Difference between Brown & White Eggs

What’s the Difference Between Brown and White Eggs?

By Bjorn Carey, Life’s Little Mysteries Managing Editor
04 February 2011 6:46 PM ET

I have plans to cook an egg quiche thing and enough cinnamon rolls for 10 people this weekend, so I’m going to need a lot of eggs. Normally I’m not too discerning with my egg selection — they all scramble just as well to me. But, standing in the grocery store, I froze. Should I buy brown eggs, or white? Is one variety better for eggy dishes, and the other better for baked goods?

I had no clue, and after spending a good five minutes scanning every letter of labeling on the various brands of eggs, I felt no more in the know. So I gave up. I picked up a carton of the cheaper white eggs, headed for the checkout and hoped for the best, or at least a less costly mistake.

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