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What's In a Word?…A Glossary for Buying Organic

Organic produce — fruits and vegetables grown in soil that hasn't been treated with toxic chemicals for at least three years.

Transitional — a grower is converting to organic but hasn't hit the three-year mark yet.

Organic meat and dairy products — animals raised without hormones or antibiotics and fed only organic feed.

Certified organic — examined by an outside agency to ensure organic authenticity.

Free-range — animals have access to the outdoors; doesn't necessarily mean organic.

Pesticide-free — a marketing myth. Agricultural chemicals are already in rain and groundwater. But organic crops are grown without synthetic pesticides.

Natural — usually means that the food contains few or no additives such as preservatives or coloring, but there aren't any standards (FDA defines natural as "minimally processed") so take it with a grain of salt.

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