Many people who are trying to live healthier lives are turning to organic foods as a way to reduce some of the toxins that may be present in the foods they consume. However, with so many different labels, all using the term “organic”, people are often confused as to whether or not the food they are purchasing is truly organic, or if the term “organic” is simply being used to reach a more diverse consumer base. The term “certified organic” seems to be particularly confusing to many people.
What Organic Means In The Food Industry
In order for food to be certified organic, it must be organically raised or grown and processed. This means that organic meat comes from animals that are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic fruits and vegetables are those that are grown without any chemical fertilizers or insecticides, synthetic ingredients, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation.
Both organic meats and fruits and vegetables must be processed using organic methods, and the farms that grow the plants, or raise the meat and the plants, need to be inspected to ensure that all organic practices are implemented and used and certified. Seed suppliers, retailers, and restaurants can all be certified organic.
In addition, other criteria has to be followed, including keeping detailed records, use of farmland that has been freed of forbidden chemicals for a set number of years (commonly 3), and strict separation between organic products and non certified products.
Who Certifies the Farms and Processing Plants?
The agency certifying these businesses as organic will depend on the country the business is in. In most countries, the Government oversees certification. The supervising agency then makes periodic inspections to ensure that the businesses and products follow all rules to maintain their certification. Only those businesses that receive the certification from the supervising agencies can advertise their food as “certified organic”.
Other Terms You May Find Helpful
Along with the term certified organic, there are a few other terms on food packages you might want to know about, in order to help you make the best possible choices when shopping healthier. These terms are terms and definitions of foods sold in the United States, the definition of these terms may be somewhat different in other countries, so you need to make sure that you are aware of the Governmental restrictions in your country for labeling food as organic.
You also need to remember, that these labels only hold true for food products. The term organic may be quite different when referring to beauty products, cleansers, or other types of products.
100 % Organic – If any food item states it is 100% organic on it’s label, it must be 100% organic and contain no sewer sludge, synthetic Ingredients, or ionizing radiation. No exceptions.
Organic – In order for a package to contain the term organic the food must be 95% organic. That means 5% of the ingredients can be synthetic or sewer sludge, chemical pesticides, or fertilizers, or other chemicals may have been used in the growing or processing of the food.
Made With Organic Ingredients – When a package contains a label containing the words ‘made with organic ingredients’, then there must be at least 70% organic food ingredients in the mix. The other 30% does not have to meet organic standards.
Is Organic Food Really Better?
Most manufacturers of non organic food will try and convince you that organic food is not any better for you, and that both non organic food and organic food contain the same vitamins and minerals, and that you are simply paying more for that organic food. All of this is true.
However, most people know and understand that what makes organic food better for your health is that this food contains no harmful chemicals, additives, or preservatives that can have long term consequences for your health.
Studies have shown that many non organic foods use chemical preservatives such as parabens that are known to show cancer, and are raised and grown using synthetic hormones, chemical preservatives, and even synthetic food colors and flavoring, none of which does anything to promote good health.
Why Does Organic Food Cost More And Is The Price Worth It?
There is a good reason why organic food costs more than non organic food. First, it is more expensive to find organic ways to keep insects from destroying the crops, than it is to simply use chemicals fertilizers. It also requires more work on behalf of those raising their food organically.
While the price of organic food is somewhat higher, the benefits for most people far outweighs the extra cost, however, that is a decision that each individual needs to make on their own. Only you can decide how much your health is worth.
Do you find organic labelling confusing? Do you think current product labelling is adequate enough?