The terms “organic” or “organically grown” indicate that the food has been produced without synthetic pesticides and also without synthetic fertilizers and certain other chemicals that are common in conventional, “industrialized” agriculture. Food labeled “certified organic” has been independently verified to be produced to organic standards.
The term “pesticide-free” has no precise meaning, and food with that label may be any of several types. It might have been grown without pesticides, similar to organically grown food, but not grown organically in other ways. It might have been tested before it reached the market and certified to contain no detectable pesticide residues.
Unfortunately, none of these labels guarantees that the food contains no pesticide residues. While synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming, some “natural” pesticides may still be used, and they are not necessarily less worrisome just because they’re “natural.” Some organic food may also be contaminated at low levels with pesticides blown in from adjacent farms or left in the soil from past use.
“Pesticide-free” food has the same problems, and even if tested for residues, it may contain pesticides below the detection limits of the tests used or ones not on the relatively short list of pesticides that the analysis tests for. But despite these caveats, organically grown food generally does contain significantly lower pesticide residues than does conventionally grown food, and food with a “no pesticides” claim often has more residues than organic food but less than conventionally grown food.
Note from teas.com.au:
Any of our certified organic teas are named “Organic xxx”. They are from certified organic plantation.
Writer: Edward Groth, food safety and environmental health consultant