- The economic threshold - Integrated Pest Management - Organic food
A species only becomes a pest when its population is so big that it causes significant damage. The economic threshold is reached when economic loss due to damage outweighs the cost of applying a pesticide. If significant damage is not happening and natural controls are still in operation, the situation is probably best left as-is.
Pesticide treatment should be used only when there is significant damage.
Cosmetic spraying is the use of pesticides to control pests that harm only the outward appearance. This does not improve the nutritional yield or quality of the produce or crop yield, but leaves behind pesticide residue on food. Cosmetic spraying is a large part of pesticide use today by farmers to ensure the sale of their fruits and vegetables.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) uses synthetic organic pesticides without jeopardizing crops. The EPA has outlined a four-step approach to IPM. This includes:
Organic food consists of food grown without the use of chemical pesticides. Given great concern about pesticides in food, supermarkets and stores now offer organic foods increasingly. Organic farms are typically smaller, employ traditional farming methods with diverse crops and are tied to local economies.
In response to consumer complaints and worry about the validity of organic foods, Congress passed the Organic Foods Protection Act in 1990. After many years, organic standards that were acceptable to both organic farmers and the public were created in 2002.
USDA Organic, or the United States Department of Agriculture Organic, is the label on food and crops that says that the food or crop has been produced by a certified organic farm. Becoming certified organic is a time-consuming and expensive process but is important to both consumers and farmers alike.