What You Should Know About Organic Foods

“Organic foods are not equal to non-organic foods. Some people will argue otherwise, but they are mistaken.” Me

Organic Food In The 1990s.

It is quite easy for this to happen so I am going to create a few blog posts setting some facts straight. Organic foods and  protecting them has been a movement around since people began to realize that foods were being greatly altered. This was clear with technological breakthroughs and historically, food was becoming more and more complicated and manipulated. Beginning in the 1990s the focus on organic food standards had become a priority among many of the different independent organic certification agencies. The USDAs National Organic Program (NOP) came from the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990. The NOP was created to set rules and standards to protect the integrity and ethical practices in the creation of organic foods.

What Makes Organic Foods Different?

The most important rules created prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biosolids, and irradiation. Other banned practices include using non-organic manure (man made/created manures), antibiotics, growth hormones, and petroleum-based fertilizers. Benefits include the elimination of residues from pesticide , environmental damage & the long term effects , farm worker safety, and feeding animals organic feed and allowing access outdoors. I am not addressing sustainability or accreditation here.

Prohibited in the production or use of organic foods and produce:

  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in relation to foods are those in which genetic material (DNA) is manipulated and altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Individual genes can be transferred to other organisms and between non-related species. Genetically modified plants are created which in turn are used to produce crops such as corn, soy, and many other foods.
  • Biosolids is a term created for defining the use of treated sludge that has been filtered and meets requirements for beneficial reuse on agricultural land. Biosolids are used on non-organic foods and have been found to pose negligible risk to the crops, consumers, and the environment while reducing waste. There are different degrees of biosolids with much more concentrated biosolids used for non-food and other uses.
  • Irradiation is sterilizing foods with ionizing radiation which can kill bacteria and parasites that can cause foodborne diseases, allowing food to be stored and preserved for much longer times. That is one reason bagged foods stay fresh for quite some time these days before they are opened and exposed to air and us. This is a “promising new food safety technology” according to the CDC. Different methods for sterilization include radiating food with gamma rays emitted from the element cobalt (Cobalt 60) or cesium (Cesium 137), shooting the food with an electron gun, or the newest technology still under development of shooting heavy x-rays at foods.

Be sure to educate yourself!

There is a lot of misunderstanding about organic foods and it is important to be aware of facts over myths. People that despise organic foods without even knowing the meaning behind their label is just hurting themselves and anyone that falls for their false information. You can ask yourself what is wrong with eating food that its evolutionary development is changed for profit, or what is wrong with cleaning human waste as long as it meets a standard for growing foods, or how cares about food being radiated. Its not just a trend its a way of looking at food, the most important part to allowing us to live, well next to air and water.

Make sure to educate yourself with consumer-friendly web pages and/or toll-free numbers and any other ways you can obtain information which is credible and makes sense. Hopefully there will be more public education by farmers and organic producers on the benefits of organic foods, but until then these are some to highly consider.

We will be having a series of posts coming about different topics stacking up organic foods with their non-organic counterparts. These will include ingredients in packaged foods, costs of produce and packaged foods, how its grown, how its maintained and kept free from troublesome pests, and ways it can benefit society in transportation and local economies. Its an ever ending topic. Thanks for reading!

Are there any myths you have heard that I did not list? Anything here that was new or perhaps you did not know? It is important that we talk about things that we feed our children and ourselves and that will affect us for the rest of our lives.

Sources:
http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2010/02/beware-the-phrase-organic-based/
http://www.ndsd.org/biosolid.aspx
http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/
http://www.nscss.org/content/plants-take-drugs-antibacterials-biosolids-used-fertilizers
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/foodirradiation.htm#whatis
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop
D Conner, D. & Christy, R. 2004. “The Organic Label: How to Reconcile its Meaning with
Consumer Preferences”. Journal of Food Distribution Research. USA. VOL 35; PART 1, pages 40-43. <ageconsearch.umn.edu>.
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Comments

  1. says

    LOVE this: “Organic foods are not equal to non-organic foods. Some people will argue otherwise, but they are mistaken.” Me
    Great article btw…kudos!

  2. Doreen Riopel says

    I love this post. It can get confusing out there. I find sometimes, I just get overwhelmed. Thanks for the write up. :)

  3. says

    Thanks, I hope it is useful for some. There is no belief or anything, this is what makes organic and non-organic foods different. Thanks for the positive feedback! ;)

  4. says

    I feel like I am walking into a mine field…
    I love organic food, but pick and choose what is really important for my health (thin skin, more likely to retain and absorb more pesticides). I also buy local from smaller farmers and farms which can’t always afford to be registered as organic due to certain crops, neighboring farm land, and vehicles that go from field to field, etc.

    And of course we have our own farm. Chemicals are REALLY expensive and small farms often only apply as needed and do try natural and safe methods to avoid pests, fungus, mold, etc. Some seasons an orchard or field might not need anything at all! We never blanket apply anything. It is not a huge corporate farm. But if it comes to losing an entire crop… we will use the least amount necessary to safely save it. All non-organic is not created equal. If you are ever in doubt, ask the farmer who grew it. I am sure they would be proud to talk to you about it.

    I did enjoy your article BTW, but wanted to stick up for small non-organic farmers as well. I try to make a well educated decision for my family on all the food we eat. I know we all have to make our own choices on this topic.

  5. says

    Also if your growing your own food for yourself and friends, then as long as you know its made the way you do, no certification should matter. Certification is too help consumers not be duped if they want to eat foods of a certain kind, but it has happened.

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