When products are stamped “Organic”, it means that the food was grown, harvested and shipped in manner that most closely resembles it’s natural habitat. Since 2001 the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has established a list standards that must be met in order for a particular food to qualify as Organic. In order to receive an Organic certification, the NOP (National Organic Program) will monitor the farm or company to make sure that the food is truly being produced organically (2). The major guidelines for producing an Organic product state that no synthetic (unnatural) toxins, pesticides or fertilizers can be used while growing food and that no antibiotics, synthetic hormones or genetic modifications are made to the animal products. So far you’re probably reading this and thinking….thats all great and wonderful but all I see is that fat price tag when shopping in the Organic section! I understand that, but lets take a look at what you’re really paying for when you buy Organic:
- Fruits, veggies and other certified organically grown food are raised free of synthetic toxins, pesticides and fertilizers.
- Organic animal products are raised free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones and any genetic modifications.
- Studies have shown that american females are entering puberty earlier and men are developing breasts as well. Research has linked this as a result of certain hormones found in conventional animal products (1).
- Organic animals are allowed to range freely, getting ample sunshine, fresh water and consuming grass or grains that are 100% Organic.
- Organic whole foods are more nutrient dense then their conventional counterparts.
- Conventional produce and fruits are heavily sprayed with pesticides and chemicals that have been linked to diseases (1).
- Organic fruit has a much higher antioxidant count then conventional fruit.
- Organic milk is more nutritious, containing higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (fights cancer).
In my opinion, these are some pretty compelling reasons to start shifting from conventional food over to Organic, if you already aren’t. The price at times can be a little steep, but stick with simple, whole foods and you will actually notice that you’re saving money and improving your health at the same time! Try doing your grocery shopping at whole food markets and local farms.
– Brig Van Etten CSCS –