What is organic food?
Making a commitment to healthy eating is a great start towards a healthier life. Beyond eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and good fats, however, there is the question of food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. How foods are grown or raised can impact both your health and the environment. This brings up the questions: What is the difference between organic foods and conventionally grown foods? Is “organic” always best? What about locally grown foods?
What does “organic” mean?
The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements must be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as "organic".
Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.
What are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals, whose DNA has been altered. These products have undergone only short term testing to determine their effects on humans and the environment. In most countries, organic products do not contain GMOs.
Organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal-by-products.
Is organic food more nutritious than non-organic food?
The evidence is unclear. Some studies suggest that, on average, organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain slightly higher levels of vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients than conventionally grown produce. However, other studies have found no nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods.
Organic foods provide a variety of benefits. Some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts. In addition, people with allergies to foods, chemicals or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods. In addition:
Why do pesticides matter?
Conventionally grown produce:
Understanding organic food labels
What do the food labels such as “organic,” "natural," "free-range," and "non-GMO" really mean? Understanding this terminology is essential when you’re shopping for organic foods.
The most important point to remember is that "natural" does not equal organic."Natural" is an unregulated term that can be applied by anyone. Only the "Organic" label indicates that a food is certified organic.
Certified Organic Food Labels
When you’re shopping for organic foods, look for the “Organic” seal. Only foods that are 95 to 100 percent organic can use the term Organic in labelling.
What does "Certified Organic" mean?
It means that the grower or processor has its farms produce or factory (processed products) certified organic. The operations are entirely audited to ensure it meets the organic standards sets by the International organic certifying bodies. There will be traceability from source to end user on its products to ensure it stays organic all the way. Only when the operations are audited can it then carry the organic certifying body mark or seal.
It is quite common that people expect organic food to be perfect like conventional food. No flaws and stays the same all the time season to season and batch to batch. And maybe for years!
Due to the nature of organic farming and processing of food products without additives, coloring, food enhancer and stabilizers. Food will be as natural as it can be, so at times, the taste, mouth feel would varies from time to time. Since coloring is not permitted the color might vary too from batch to batch. At times weevils or insects might happen as the grains and legumes are not treated with chemicals, it is a “ life food” whereby microorganisms not harmful to our health are still alive. It is dormant when stored in a cool dry place and best when refrigerated. If there is still life in our food it shows that it is not a dead food. Food that has been highly processed, and adulterated are considered dead food as it gives no benefits to our health well being.