As the Department of Agriculture’s new organic food regulations begin to take effect, the public still runs the risk of buying into the myth that “organic” means “better” [“Naturally Speaking,” October 21].

Some people mistakenly imagine that organic food is especially safe or nutritious, or even that it’s entirely pesticide-free. It’s none of those things. And it makes no difference whether the organic food comes from a local farmer or a sizable company. One of its distinguishing features is still the manure that it’s grown in (the “ick” in “organic”).

Besides, the U.S. Department of Agriculture goes out of its way to point out, correctly, that the new label “makes no claim that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.”