ORGANIC: of, relating to, or derived from living matter.
fact: just because a food item is labelled organic does NOT mean it is healthy! Always, always, ALWAYS read the ingredient list!
Organic is a pretty overused word these days and something that (thank god) is becoming increasingly in demand. The labeling can be pretty confusing around this word though so here's a quick breakdown on what they all really mean...
100% ORGANIC - contains only organic ingredients
ORGANIC - no less than 95% organic ingredients
MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS: - no less than 70% organic ingredients
ALL NATURAL - may contain GMO's and pesticides
There is a lot of controversy around the USDA Organic label as it is expensive and most small companies can't afford the certification (which is anywhere from $200 - $1500 plus an annual fee, plus any costs involved in bringing their growing and production processes into compliance with the National Organic standards) which is why shopping at your local farmers markets and taking the time to talk with the people growing your food is THE best way to shop. You can ask your farmers questions like, 'What they do for pest control?' 'Do they spray?' You'll find that a lot of them actually do practice organic methods, they just don't have the certification.
Something i learned recently is that if you see the USDA Organic label it actually means that the food item is also non-GMO. Which is kind of confusing as non-GMO has it's own separate label. The non-GMO label means just that, it is non-GMO but that does NOT mean that it is also organic. Only the USDA Organic label means that the product is both things.
The USDA Organic label also means that the food was grown without the use of hormones (or pesticides) and that there are no artificial preservatives or ingredients.
Below is a list of the most heavily sprayed fruits and veggies in the US:
- RED RASPBERRIES
- SWEET BELL PEPPERS
- SPINACH + LETTUCES
And for those of you that consume animal products:
MEAT: Non-organic meat means that the animals are fed pesticide-rich grains and are pumped with hormones and antibiotics, generally so they can survive the conditions they are living in and for faster production times.
MILK: Non-organic milk and dairy products contain pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
I know shopping for organic food can be expensive but remember, we as consumers have the power. The more we buy organic produce, the more demand there is for it. The more demand there is for it, the more price competitive companies can be.
So perhaps the next time you go shopping start with buying organic milk... then add peaches... then slowly add apples and meat... Every purchase you make creates change.
"If you think organic food is expensive, have you priced cancer lately?" - Joel Salatin, founder of Polyface Farms.