What is the definition of organic?
Why should you choose organic? What does organic really mean? The term ‘organic’ usually refers to products that have been produced without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) or synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics and growth hormones. The materials and practices used in the organic production process enhances the ecological balance of natural systems and integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.
Organics is not just chemical free agriculture. It is a synergy joining soil, plants, the farmer, community, and the environment into a living food production system. Each stage of the system supports and benefits the following stage.
Why is organic certification required?
There are three main reasons why genuine organic products need to be certified.
- Protects consumers against deception and fraud in the marketplace.
- Protects producers of genuine organic produce against misrepresentation of conventional produce as being organic.
- Ensures that all stages of production, processing and marketing are subject to inspection and meet the predetermined requirements of the organic standard.
Who are some of the leading independent certifying bodies?
Certified organic products are usually identified by a seal or a logo. Some of the organic certifying bodies are listed below:
- ACO (Australian Certified Organic)
- USDA(US Department of Agriculture)
- BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia)
- IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements)
Organic costs more… so why should we eat organic food?
The best way to describe the philosophy behind organic foods is “Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People” according to the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Most people know that the cost of certified organic foods are generally higher compared to conventional ones. Behind the certified organic logo, so much time, effort, and expense had been invested by farmers and food manufacturers to ensure that they have achieved certification for their products. Some of the reasons why certified organic foods and products cost more are as follows:
- Organic farming is time consuming. Farmers are required a minimum of three years of organic management before they can sell their produce as certified organic.
- Organic farming requires more skilled labor, it is more labor intensive, and produces lower yield per hectare compared to conventional farming practices.
- The practice of crop rotation year after year, and the application of green manure and compost, instead of synthetic pesticides/fertilisers/fungicides, maintains the fertility of the soil.
Benefits of organic food
Although the cost of organic food is higher, there are many benefits that make it well worth it.
- PROTECTION FROM PESTICIDE HEALTH HAZARDS:
Pesticide substances are extremely toxic and only a few drops ingested can kill an average person. Due to the wide spread use of pesticides in industrial agriculture, pesticide residues can be found everywhere in our environment.
According to a 2004 report by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), blood and urine analysis of 9,282 individuals by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the EVERY person contained an average of 13 – 23 pesticide residues in their bodies.
Scientists claim that pesticide exposure increases the likelihood that certain health problems will occur or lead to serious illness. Some examples of health issues linked to pesticide exposure includes cancer, brain damage, weakened immunity, endocrine system disruptions, and reproductive problems.
Children are more vulnerable to pesticide exposure. There are scientific evidence that link pesticide exposure to health problems such as low birth weight, birth defects, abnormal neurological development, and reproductive problems. According to a CDC study conducted on blood samples from 44,000 pregnant women between 1959 – 1966, there is link between the levels of DDT pesticides in their blood and premature births.
So the best way to protect yourself from pesticide exposure and their associated health effects is to EAT ORGANIC!
- MORE ANTIOXIDANTS:
Antioxidants are important for health. They scavenge free radicals and transform them into non-damaging compounds, which prevents cellular damage. This process will slow aging, strengthen immunity, and decreases the risk of cancer and other health-related problems. Fruits and vegetables that are deep and rich in colour have a high amount of antioxidants. Examples include blueberries, red cabbage, broccoli, and strawberries.
According to a 2005 report by the Organic Center for Education and Prevention, organic food have on average, about 30% higher levels of antioxidants compared to conventional food grown under the same conditions. According to Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., director of the agriculture, food and environment program at Tufts University, the higher antioxidant levels in organic foods may be due to the fact that organic crops must activate defense mechanisms to ward off pests and disease, while conventional crops do not.
- HIGHER NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
There is scientific evidence to prove that organic foods generally have a higher nutritional value. They are more nutrient dense and have higher levels of minerals, proteins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Have a read of this blog post called “Does Organic Food Really Have A Higher Nutritional Value” CLICK HERE!
Want To Read Articles About Organic?
Some of the articles that you might like to read can be found here. CLICK HERE!
So now that you know why organic is better for you…the choice is yours! If you have enjoyed this article, feel free to leave a comment below.