What are organic foods? According to wikipedia, Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives. Livestock are reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified. Organic food production is legally regulated. Currently, the United States, the European Union, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain organic certification in order to market food as organic.
How to identify Organic food? Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a minimum percentage of the food's total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States and Australia) and any non-organically produced ingredients are subject to various agricultural requirements. Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions (no chemical ripening, no food irradiation, and no genetically modified ingredients, etc.).
They may also be required to be produced using energy-saving technologies and packaged using recyclable or biodegradable materials when possible.
Consumers interested in organic food should look for non-chemically treated, fresh or minimally processed food. Mostly these can be bought directly from growers. By talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities helps to identify if vegetables or live stocks are organically grown. Some small farms grew vegetables (and raised livestock) using organic farming practices, with or without certification, and the individual consumer monitored. As demand for organic foods continues to increase, high volume sales through mass outlets such as supermarkets are rapidly replacing the direct farmer connection. However, for supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labelling, like "certified organic", is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance. A "certified organic" label is usually the only way for consumers to know that a processed product is "organic".
To be certified organic, products must be grown and manufactured in a manner that adheres to standards set by the country they are sold in:
: NASAA Organic Standard Australia : Organic Farmers and Growers Organic Standards and the Soil Association Britain Canada: Canada Gazette, Government of Canada
- European Union: EU-Eco-regulation
: KRAV Sweden : NPOP, (National Program for Organic Production) India : JAS Standards. Japan : National Organic Program (NOP) Standards United States
These sites focus on the regulation and standardization of organic food/products. With the help of these agencies consumers get the best information and assistance needed to know more about organic foods.
That's all for now, next time I’ll discuss more on the health benefits of eating organic foods.
I'm wishing you the best of health today!