WHAT IS HEALTHY FOOD?
Organically grown fresh food is clean healthy food. I cannot find evidence to suggest otherwise. Questions frequently asked about organic food, are 1. “Is the product definitely grown organically?” and 2. “Is organic food really healthier or is it a marketing scam? I have written this article to answer those questions. I outline what requirements Australian and Amercian Certified Organic growers must meet to obtain and retain their status. Like so much else that gains in popularity, the movement towards organic healthy food is not an exception. The door is opening for scams and misinformation.
ORGANIC FOOD SCAMS
Whenever popularity increases so does the opportunity for scams. Misrepresentation to the consumer, either through ignorance or as a marketing ploy is likely to emerge. Therefore, knowledge of some restrictions imposed on certified organic growers puts us in a better position. This knowledge will give us the opportunity to question when we see the word “organic.” We as consumers have the right to know how our food is produced. Therefore, if you see “organic” on a fruit and vegetable stall at the local market, question the vendor. Many farmers at local markets are growing organically but are often small ventures. The fees associated with organic certification may be just too much for this type of farm to outlay. On sellers of fruit and vegetables may use the word “organic” as a marketing ploy. I believe the more information consumers have, the less likely they will be misled.
STUDIES ON HEALTH IN POPULATED AREAS.
The health of people living in specific areas has been studied in the past. The studies have found certain populated areas have a better than average overall health score. These healthy pockets in the world have a common theme. The finding of people’s habits and lifestyle have all reflected consuming locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course, other factors may have contributed such as water quality, general stress levels, community engagement etc. I did read a suggestion that it could have something to do with sensitivity to the environment itself. Where you are living is where you have adjusted to physically. Researchers discovered that when people moved from an area they had been living in for some time to a new area, their immunity dropped. Once they were living in the new area for a while, their immune system improved. This suggested our bodies physically adapt.
HOW ORGANIC FARMERS BECOME CERTIFIED
Certified organic growers – America
American growers apply to the US Department of Agriculture for approval and certification. 5 basics listed on the USDA website.
- The farm or business adopts organic practices, selects a USDA-accredited certifying agent, and submits an application and fees to the certifying agent.
- The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations.
- An inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation.
- The certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations.
- The certifying agent issues an organic certificate.
- The land must remain prohibited substance free i.e. no toxic chemicals, synthetic fertilizers etc. for a period of 3 years prior to approval of certification. Restriction continues after approval.
The application attracts a fee according to size of operation
Furthermore, it is illegal to label, sell or represent as organic until it is passed by the USDA.
Once certified annual reviews and inspections to retain the organic certification will be carried out.
Farms that sell less than $5k per year are exempt. However, using the word “organic” still requires that organic farming processes are to be followed.
Certified Organic growers – Australia.
I have looked in brief at the requirements by regulatory bodies for Australian Organic growers. The Australian Certified Organic’s site, an accredited site for organic certification, shows similar requirements to the US. However, Australia currently does not regulate the word “organic.” This makes verifying organic food produce difficult unless it is “certified organic.” As above, a few questions on farming practice and method helps give assurance of safe healthy food. Obviously, produce that is “certified organic” helps remove doubt. Farmers are audited and compliance is mandatory to retain their certificate.
WHAT WE GET WHEN WE BUY CERTIFIED ORGANIC.
Strict regulations ensure safe products when Certified Organic. Thus ensuring healthy food. The farms must produce in line with the following:
- Pasture fed
- Free to range
- No synthetic herbicides and pesticides used
- Free from fumigants
- No Hormones used in production
- Free from Antibiotics
- Certified Organic farms are regularly audited.
In my previous article ” Discover healthy foods dirty secrets” I wrote about Pesticides and Herbicides, lingering on or in our food. I also wrote about GMO’s and the independent studies that suggest GMO’s are unsafe for humans and the environment. I restate what I have said before. Regulatory bodies stating a “safe level” to ingest these toxic chemicals is a very big ask to blindly accept. One statement I read said that the FDA was not pushing for human trials on GMOs as they are not drugs. I refer back to my article I published on Turmeric. This humble spice can change our DNA in a positive manner in just 6 weeks. What does GMO food do to us? Are GMOs healthy food or not? Do we get health benefits out of any of them? Independent unbiased studies are a must for us to base our decisions.
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