Organic produce includes fresh fruits and vegetable which have been grown and processed for the market without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation. Most countries do not allow genetically modified foods to be classified as organic. The production of organic food is highly regulated and most countries require producers to be certified in order to market their produce as organic. The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) regularly inspects farms that produce USDA Organic labeled foods. Stiff penalties and fines are imposed on anyone who is caught intentionally selling or labeling a non-organic product as organic.
The cost of organic produce is typically 10-40% more than conventional produce but consumers are becoming more heath conscious which helps explain why organic foods are the fastest growing sector in the American food marketplace. The higher prices are attributed to organic produce being produced on a smaller scale, and the requirement of milling or processing some foods separately to maintain their organic purity. Additional costs are also associated with shipping produce from less centralized regional markets.