Eating organic food has become a trend for consumers who prize good nutrition as part of their healthy lifestyle, but what does it really mean to go organic?
Organic food refers to food that’s been grown and harvested without using artificial pesticides and fertilizers. Truly certified organic produce is food that’s been grown, harvested, processed, stored and packed under strict requirements by an organic certifying body to ensure that the food is not contaminated in any way. This can mean there is no form of any chemicals or pesticides used when growing the produce, produce is not genetically modified to make them more resistant to pests, and there are no hormones, antibiotics, synthetic additives or radiation contamination. The whole process of food production is also audited by an independent third party and is subjected to rigorous testing and protocols.
Certified organic bodies issue growers and suppliers a registration number as a form of quality assurance, so that consumers can understand that the certified organic food is safe for their health and consumption. Due to stringent testing, the quality of organic produce can be exceedingly high.
Benefits of Organic Food
In fact, organic foods can possess countless benefits for consumers. Here are just some of them:
Free from pesticides, chemical and other toxic substances
Organic food has no pesticide and chemical residues. When these toxic substances are ingested and enter the body, they can harm your body. Pesticides have been linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease, asthma, depression, anxiety, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and cancer.
Genetically modified organisms(GMO) are living organisms whose genetic material has been genetically engineered in a laboratory. When it comes to GMO foods, these can include crops like corn, soy, canola and sugar beet, which are often used for animal feed and can affect the livestock and consumers who eat them. Also, most GMO crops are genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides, encouraging even more use of these herbicides.
Furthermore, especially in the US, GMO foods are often quite widespread and not required to be labelled, so consumers are not aware of what they are actually eating. The health detriments of consuming GMO foods is still unknown.
By buying organic, you will not be consuming any GMO products as organic farmers cannot use GMOs for their production.
No Antibiotics or Hormones
It is common practice to use antibiotics and hormones to treat livestock like chicken, cattle, turkeys, pigs and fish to prevent diseases amongst the animals on the farms. They may even be sprayed on fruit and given to honey bees.
However, hormones like insulin-like growth factor (IGF), often found in dairy products, have been linked to breast, prostate and other cancers in humans. Added hormones in our food can also be linked to an earlier occurrence of puberty in children. Antibiotics can also cause antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria to develop and cause havoc for our health.
Fresher and high quality produce
Due to the fact that organic foods don't contain preservatives, they tend to be fresher and of higher quality. Organic farms are also often closer to where they are being sold locally, thus resulting in fresh produce.
Higher levels of nutrients
There is evidence that the levels of vitamins, minerals and omega-3s are higher in organic foods versus non-organic foods. Other studies have also shown that there are higher amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in organic fruits and vegetables.
Guy Dauncey, in his article entitled “Ten Reasons Why Organic Food is Better”, argued that organic food is healthier. In his listing of several studies conducted by trusted authorities, it was discovered that regular or conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contained dramatically less minerals and vitamins. The same article mentioned the findings of a French cancer specialist who posted that organically grown crops contained increased elements like zinc, increased fibre and increased minerals like calcium, to go along with increased quantities of vitamins C, A, E and B.
A careful review of 41 published studies conducted by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine also led to similar findings which supported the notion that, indeed, nutritional value of organic fruits and vegetables is relatively higher compared to conventionally grown crops. In this study, it was proven that servings of organic vegetables like cabbage, spinach, carrots, lettuce and potatoes contained a lot more vitamin C as compared to conventional produce.
As organic food tends to be fresher and naturally grown, the taste of the foods may be better. Due to the care and nourishment of the soil where organic produce is grown, it only seems natural that organic food would be more flavourful.
Better for the environment
Organic farming reduces pollution and soil erosion, while at the same increasing soil fertility and using less energy and water. Farming without pesticides can also be less harmful for the animals and wildlife living nearby.
Organic Food Certifications
Furthermore, organic food certification can vary from country to country. While most governments regulate the organic standards for their nation, there are also international standards that help to bridge the certification standards between countries. One such international standard is the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
For example, in the United States, organic standards are governed by the USDA for crops, livestock, processed products and wild crops. Organic farms can be USDA Organic certified, if they pass a meticulous application process, inspection and detailed outline of their Organic System Process of their future organic practices.
The European Commission issued a mandatory label for organic food across the EU countries in 2010. The label signifies that at least 95% of the ingredients in the processed organic food is of organic origins. There are also private organic certifications like Demeter International and Bio Suisse, and each EU country may also have their own certification standards.
In Australia, the organic standards mainly fall under the Department of Agriculture, which has 7 approved certifying boards, including NASAA Certified Organic (NCO). The Department of Agriculture accreditation is required for certified organic products bound for export, and is largely used in the domestic market as well.
Nature’s Glory is Certified Organic for Organic Foods
At Nature’s Glory, we are independently certified organic by the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) at Australian and international standards. In addition, we are a NASAA Certified Organic (NCO) operator under the registration number 8131P in Singapore.
Not only are we certified organic, our products are also non-GMO, microwave free, tested for radiation and sold at very affordable prices. We also do not fumigate our warehouses to keep pests away, ensuring that our produce is uncontaminated by chemicals. Each step of the process has been carefully monitored to ensure that our customers receive the best certified organic produce that is safe to eat.
We have been offering quality organic groceries since 1991 and one of the few grocers to have been certified from 2008. We are also on a health mission to improve the health of our customers and nations through our organic produce and other health products.