As a chef, you would probably want to look for pesticide-free products. I would therefore recommend that you use certified organic products. Let me explain the concepts that drive certification.
The certification covers not just cultivation but also storage, processing, packaging, and shipping. Standards for certification can vary from country to country. In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, while in others – like the US and, to some extent, in India — the certificate is provided by notified private institutions.
Certified organic foods do not necessarily need to be free of all pesticides; they do permit the use of some pesticides. Organic certification is issued to producers of agricultural and farm products and to seed suppliers, food processors, retailers and restaurants, and all those who deal in organic farm products.
The food industry’s labels — natural, all-natural, free-range, or hormone-free — should not be confused with organic; the two are not synonymous. The use of natural, free-range, hormone-free is simply a statement describing the property of the food item. The natural label will mean minimally processed and could include the non-use of artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients.
In the case of meat, animals may continue to be given growth-enhancing chemicals or hormones. Labels could describe the meat as naturally raised, free-ranging, grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free, and the like. These represent one property or the other of dairy, meat, or other food product. It is important to distinguish between such labels and the ones certified as organic.
Under the US National Organic Program (NOP), products with entirely organic ingredients and methods are labeled “100% organic.” Products with at least 95% organic ingredients can be labeled “organic.” A third category has a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, marked as “made with organic ingredients.” These products are permitted to display the logo of the approved certification body.
To be certified organic, food must meet specific requirements for how it is grown, handled, and processed. This includes:
- No use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers
- No use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- No use of irradiation
- No use of sewage sludge
- Animals must be raised without antibiotics or growth hormones
- Organic farmers must use sustainable farming practices that promote soil health, biodiversity, and ecological balance.
Farmers, processors, and handlers of organic products must apply for organic certification and undergo annual inspections by USDA-accredited certifying agents. The certifying agents ensure that the organic standards are followed and that the products are labeled correctly. The USDA organic seal can only be used on products that meet these standards.
Would you please check for the authentic organic certification agencies in your jurisdiction and ask the supplier to provide you with products that are certified by these agencies? You will be able to secure genuine food ingredients for your work. All the best.
Nutrition Facts – a guide to good health