What is the Organic Food Industry?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 February 2020
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The organic food industry is the business of growing, transporting, and selling foods that meet the requirements to be legally categorized as “organic” foods. This typically refers to fruits and vegetables, though meats such as poultry, beef, and pork can all be certified organic as well. Requirements for foods to be certified as organic can vary from country to country, though in general these foods are not treated with various chemicals, such as synthetic pesticides and growth hormones, and have not undergone genetic manipulation. The organic food industry has become increasingly prevalent in many countries, including the US, though organic foods are often more expensive to produce and purchase.

Often associated with the natural food industry, the organic food industry is involved with the production and selling of organic foods. Organic foods are often certified by a government agency in a given country, such as the Food and Drug Administration in the US. These agencies and various laws typically indicate what foods can be certified as organic, as well as the requirements that such foods must meet to gain that certification. Following these requirements sets producers and sellers within the organic food industry apart from other food growers and wholesalers that use “conventional” growing methods.


The organic food industry typically produces fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats from livestock and fowl. In order for these foods to be certified as “organic,” certain conditions must be met that depend on the laws in a particular country. Organic foods in the US, for example, are typically fruits and vegetables that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, are not genetically manipulated, and are grown in ways that maintain the integrity of the fields in which they are grown. The organic food industry does allow certain organic pesticides to be used in growing foods, though these may not be as effective as synthetic ones.

Meat can also be produced and sold by the organic food industry. Such meat, regardless of whether it is poultry, beef, or pork, should come from animals that have not been treated with growth hormones, were allowed to graze freely in pastures, and were not genetically manipulated. Ongoing technological developments, such as nanotechnology, are likely to be forbidden by the organic food industry as well. Producing organic foods is often more expensive than foods produced through conventional methods, due to more expensive resources and typically lower yields. This makes organic foods more expensive to sell and purchase, though this market has seen some of the largest growth during the early 21st century of any food industry.



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