Glossary

Alternative Energy
Energy from a source other than the standard fossil fuel sources of oil, natural gas, and coal. Alternatives include solar energy, wind, and running water.

Biodegradable
Referring to a product that has the ability to safely break down by biological means into raw materials of nature and disappear, and to do so relatively quickly.

Biofuel
Fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol made from renewable, organic materials.

Biotechnology
Agricultural biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques, including genetic engineering, that are used to create, improve, or modify plants, animals, and microorganisms. Using conventional techniques, such as selective breeding, scientists have been working to improve plants and animals for human benefit for hundreds of years. Modern techniques now enable scientists to move genes (and therefore desirable traits) in ways they could not before – and with greater ease and precision.

Compost
Compost is the decomposed remains of organic materials, typically used in gardening, landscaping, and for soil erosion control.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The Federal Agency whose mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment &151; air, water, and land &151; upon which life depends. EPA provides leadership in the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. EPA works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws. EPA is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes responsibility for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance.

Fair Trade
An organized movement that encourages fair labor practices, environmentalism, and progressive social policy for all people.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
An agency within the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services. FDA is a public health agency, charged with protecting consumers by enforcing the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and several related public health laws. Importantly for agriculture, a major FDA mission is to protect the safety and wholesomeness of food. In this regard, its scientists test samples to see if any substances, such as pesticide residues, are present in unacceptable amounts, it sets food labeling standards, and it sees that medicated feeds and other drugs given to animals raised for food are not threatening to the consumer’s health.

Free Range or Free Roaming
Livestock or poultry has been allowed access to the outside.

Genetically Modified (GM) Food
Genetically modified food uses modern biotechnology or ‘gene technology’, which is also called Genetic engineering, which allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one plant species to another and then used to grow GM plants and food crops.

Green
This term is commonly used to refer to actions that are environmentally sound by nature.

Kosher
Kosher may be used only on the labels of meat and poultry products prepared under Rabbinical supervision.

Label
A display of written, printed, or graphic matter upon the immediate container (not including package liners) of any food product.

Microorganism
A form of life that can be seen only with a microscope; including bacteria, viruses, yeast, and single-celled animals.

Natural
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color that is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)

Organic
Products that have not been grown using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or a host of other methods including bioengineering (this includes growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms) as well as radiation (including ionizing radiation).

Pasteurization
The process which slows microbial growth in foods. Unlike sterilization, pasteurization is not intended to kill all pathogenic micro-organisms in the food or liquid. Instead, pasteurization aims to reduce the number of viable pathogens so they are unlikely to cause disease. This is usually done by applying heat to the food. Three processes most typically used to pasteurize foods are flash pasteurization, steam pasteurization, and irradiation pasteurization.

Perishable
Food that is subject to decay, spoilage, or bacteria unless it is properly refrigerated or frozen.

Pesticide
A substance used to kill, control, repel, or mitigate any pest. Insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, herbicides, and germicides are all pesticides.

Recycle
The process by which old materials are reprocessed to create new products.

Sustainability
Human development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

Upcycling
The process of taking trash or useless products and reusing them for, or modifying them to use for another purpose.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The department of the Federal government responsible for enhancing the quality of life for the American people by supporting the production of Agriculture. This mission is achieved through: 1) ensuring a safe, affordable, nutritious and accessible food supply; 2) caring for agricultural, forests, and range lands; 3) supporting sound development of rural communities; 4) providing economic opportunities for farm and rural residents; 5) expanding global markets for agricultural and forest products and services; and 6) working to reduce hunger in America and throughout the world.

Vegetarianism
The practice of not consuming the flesh of animals (including beef, poultry & fish) and in some instances, animal byproducts. Some vegetarians also refuse to wear clothing that has involved the death of an animal. There are many types of vegetarian diets, here are some of the more common types of vegetarian & semi vegetarian diets:

  • Ovo-lacto Vegetarianism do not eat meat or fish, but will eat eggs, dairy and honey.
  • Lacto Vegetarianism do not eat meat, fish or eggs, but will eat dairy and honey.
  • Ovo Vegetarianism do not eat meat, fish or dairy, but they will eat eggs and honey.
  • Veganism do not eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs or honey.
  • Pescetarianism only eat fish or other seafood.
  • Pollotarianism only eat poultry.
  • Flexitarianism eat specific animals on rare occasions.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
There is no clear and widely supported definition of a VOC. VOC is a term used more in relation to air quality and environmental studies. From a chemistry viewpoint “Volatile Organic Compound” can mean any organic compound (all chemical compounds containing carbon with exceptions) that is volatile (evaporating or vaporizing readily under normal conditions). This is a very broad set of chemicals. Definitions vary depending on the particular context. There are many other widely used terms that are a subclass of VOCs.

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