What are Organic Foods?
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
The weight of the available scientific evidence has not shown a significant difference between organic and more conventionally grown food in terms of safety, nutritional value, or taste. For the vast majority of human history, agriculture can be described as organic; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new synthetic chemicals introduced to the food supply. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.
Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food made in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. In the United States, organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.If livestock are involved, the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. In the United States, a food can be labelled as “organic” if it contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. In most countries, organic produce may not be genetically modified. It has been suggested that the application of nanotechnology to food and agriculture is a further technology that needs to be excluded from certified organic food. The Soil Association (UK) has been the first organic certifier to implement a nano-exclusion.
Identifying organic food:
Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the food’s total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States, Canada, 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, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed so long as they are not synthetic.
Early consumers interested in organic food would look for non-chemically treated, non-use of unapproved pesticides, fresh or minimally processed food. They mostly had to buy directly from growers: “Know your farmer, know your food” was the motto. Personal definitions of what constituted “organic” were developed through firsthand experience: by talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities. 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 continued to increase, high volume sales through mass outlets such as supermarkets rapidly replaced the direct farmer connection. Today there is no limit to organic farm sizes and many large corporate farms currently have an organic division. However, for supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labeling, like “certified organic”, is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance.
The USDA carries out routine inspections of farms that produce USDA Organic labeled foods. Of the 30 third party inspectors 15 of them have been placed under probation after an audit. On April 20, 2010, the Department of Agriculture said that it would begin enforcing rules requiring the spot testing of organically grown foods for traces of pesticides, after an auditor exposed major gaps in federal oversight of the organic food industry.
Organic baby products:
Organic baby products are commercially produced infant formulas and baby foods that have obtained organic certification. They are often recommended as substitutes for conventionally marketed baby foods in order to reduce the amount of chemical exposure for rapidly developing infants. Since babies’ bodies are smaller and their brains grow faster, they are more vulnerable to environmental toxins as they absorb more pesticides per pound of body weight than adults.
Farm2Kitchen is India’s exclusive store for organic food and lifestyle products. You can shop organic foods, organic baby foods, organit clothing and other organic lifestyle products at Farm2Kitchen.