What Is Organic Food?
The organic food must be grown without the use of the utilization of synthetic or man-made fertilizers, pesticides, livestock feed additives, antibiotics, growth hormones, ionizing radiation, sewage-sludge based fertilizers and genetically modified organism (GMO). The guidelines or standards vary from country to country, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Quebec Accreditation Board, EU-Eco-regulation, and so forth.
Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-certified inspector reviews the farm where the food is grown to ensure the farmer is adhering to all the standards necessary to satisfy organic standards. Likewise, organizations that process organic food before it arrives at neighborhood or stores must be certified.
Non-Organic Food also known as conventional food is directly grown or processed with synthetic fertilizers, sewage-sludge based fertilizers, irradiation, genetically modified organism, pesticide or medications. They were simply overloaded by these harmful substances. For food to be labeled as non-organic, it needs to contain less than 70% organic composite.
What are US organic standards?
The US organic standards are managed by USDA. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) enacts, defines, and regulates the utilization and meaning of “Organic” on food labels. The USDA standards are categorized into three groups; crop standards, livestock and poultry standards and handling standards.
Here is the link for those standards on USDA site. Check it out if you are interested in.
Four Classifications of Labelling
Must contain only organically produced and processed ingredients from either plants or animals without exception.
“Organic” labeled food contains at least 95% ingredients that are produced and processed organically. The other 5% of ingredients must be non-GMO
Made with Organic
Must contain at least 70 % certified organic ingredients. So it allows 30% of non-organic ingredients and must be produced without GMOs. These products can’t use the USDA organic seal.
Specific Organic Ingredients
Must contain fewer than 70% organic ingredients or less. Uses the word organic to list organic ingredients in the ingredients panel. These products can’t use the USDA organic seal.
When the product contains both organic and non-organic ingredients, it must specify what organic ingredients and non-organic ingredients are in the ingredient statement. It is not allowed to have a generic statement like “Made with organic ingredients”.
What is “Natural” label on the food?
People make mistakes buying “Natural” labeled food as if organic food. Natural means nothing. Food makers could put “Natural” label on food that contains highly processed ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals. There are no regulations nor official standards for the measure of natural ingredients that food must contain to be considered “Natural”. The best way to check is to read ingredients. As mentioned above, the food makers must list organic and non-organic ingredients in the ingredients panel. If you don’t see many organic ingredients but a bunch of chemical names, you shouldn’t be fooled by the label. Whenever I see the big “Natural” word on the product, I feel more skeptical on the quality of the product.
What are pesticides used in the cultivation of non-organic food?
These are only some of them.
This chemical is widely used to protect crops from fungal diseases such as fruit and vegetables. It considers to have a low potential for bioconcentration and have some moderate risk to fish, earthworms, and bees.
It is widely used against fungal diseases of agricultural products. This is intensely toxic to honeybees.
Broadly utilized fungicide used on an assortment of ornamentals, vegetables, and fruits. For example, apricots, snap beans, carrots, celery, fruits, cucumber, endive, fennel, garlic, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, onions, peaches, plums, prunes, rhubarb, shallots, and tomatoes
These are insecticides utilized principally against red fire ants. It also used to control aphids, worms, ants, gnats, moths, creepy crawlies, grasshoppers, bugs, midges, insects, ticks, yellow coats, parasites, caterpillars, flies, and bugs. It is commonly utilized in nurseries and orchards. It is exceptionally harmful to aquatic life and has the longest-lasting residue in the soil.
It is widely used on the farm and domestic animals to kill insects and mites.
It used to control insects including, screwworms, lice, scabies, flies and ticks.
It is known as an extremely hazardous substance in the United States.
It is highly toxic by inhalation which is the common exposure to this toxic chemical.
It is used to control insects in food storage, livestock, and home.
How is organic food grown?
Organic farmers grow food without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and synthetic fertilizers. The farmers must follow standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) such as using only approved substances, protecting and natural resources.
Also, the land must not have these prohibited substances at least three years before producing organic crops.
What are the benefits of organic food?
Higher Omega-3 fatty acids found in organic food
Due to the fact that organic livestock cultivating is required essentially to feed on grass, there are increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids which is healthier for the heart. These higher omega-3 fatty acids are found in organic meats, dairy, and eggs. Indeed, the results of a 2016 European research show that it could get up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventional alternatives.
Lower in Toxic chemicals
Cadmium is a naturally occurring toxic chemical in the soil. However, studies have shown that cadmium is lower in organic food compared to non-organic food. This could be a result of the prohibition on some synthetic fertilizers.
Less Pesticide Residue
Organically grown produce has less and lower recognizable degrees of these pesticide residues compared to conventionally grown food However, Organic produce may have residues due to pesticides endorsed for organic cultivating or contamination from conventional farms.
Both organic meat and non-organic meat have the same risk of bacterial contamination, however, methods of handling livestock where byproducts are used as feed increase the possibility of mad cow disease (BSE) and the utilization of antibiotics can make antibiotic-resistant strains of microorganisms. Organically grown animals are given more space to move around and access to the outside, which keep them healthy.
No preservatives mean that food can’t be kept for a long period of time. So therefore produce is always fresher.
Cultivating without pesticides is ecologically friendly to animals and birds as well as humans. Organic cultivating methods also reduce contamination, save water, decrease soil disintegration, and increase soil fertility.
Avoid these non-organic foods
According to Ewg.org, it is advisable to buy organic of these listed fruits below because the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels or residues. So, avoid buying them when they are conventionally grown;
Apples, Celery, Peanut Butter, Strawberries, Baby Food, Blueberries, Peaches, Milk, Nectarines, Tomatoes, Greens, Grapes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Cucumber, Meat, Cherries, Spinach, Corn, Soy, Leafy Green Vegetables
Conventional foods that are OK to buy
In case you have to budget your grocery, here is the list of 20 foods that you don’t need to buy organic because they are known as “Clean” as they are generally low in pesticide’s residues according to Ewg.org ;
Avocados, Mangoes, Sweet corn, Grapefruit, Cabbage, Broccoli, Sweet peas, Papayas, Carrot, Eggplants, Honeydews, Kiwis, Cantaloupes, Cauliflower, Onions, Grapefruit, Asparagus, Watermelon, Pineapples, Sweet potato.