Simply put, organic foods are synonymous with organic farming, in that organics are grown and processed without pesticides, hormones, chemicals, artificial additives and the likes. Organic foods can be anything from staple fruits and vegetables to meat products, dairies, processed foods and pet food even.
In America, organic farming is overseen by the USDA or the United States Department of Agriculture through the National Organic Program (NOP) that regulates organic food. As such, for a food product to be introduced to the market as organic it has to meet the requirements of The National Organic Program.
Organic Foods Regulation in America
The first act that brought into attention organic foods regulation in the country was the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). The law required that national standards be developed concerning organically-produced products, a responsibility that passed onto NOP.
When an organic product passes the NOP standards, it is labeled with the USDA organic seal. Although these regulations ensure that a product was organically grown, they do not however address such issues as nutrition or food safety.
The National Organic Program today is responsible for protecting organic integrity, facilitating market access, creating and implementing clear standards, building technology to advance organic integrity and developing the organization, according to the strategic plan for 2015-2018.
How organic food is different to conventional food
Time ago, what is today considered organic was traditional food. Up until the industrialization of agriculture, about 100 years ago, people ate what we now call organic and natural because everything was natural.
However, mechanized agriculture and the introduction of synthetic chemicals that exploited the lands to grow more food faster changed the food production process and gave rise to what people have come to know and accept today as conventional food.
But as people grew wearier of the adverse effects that chemicals and pesticides have on the human body and the environment, food companies and farmers started a return to basics, and organic farming grew more roots throughout America. For Organic Foods offers and prices view the latest weekly ad circulars.
Organic foods are different from conventional foods in a number of ways:
- Organic foods are produced free of the chemicals usually found in conventional products.
- Organic foods reduce the toxic load during the production process because they require more sustainable approaches. Although there are organic foods produced in industrial farms that are not sustainable, generally speaking, organic farming can be classified as sustainable.
- Organic foods production takes a more humane approach towards animals: for example, organic farmers usually allow animals to have access to outdoor areas so that they can carry out their natural behaviors; thus animals are not raised in cages or feed lots.
Is organic food better than conventional food?
Often more expensive than its conventional counterpart, organic food is generally understood to have a more positive impact on the environment and people’s health.
Many people choose to eat organic for reasons relating to animal welfare while for other people it’s the healthier option to conventional food. Because most of the additives commonly found in food nowadays have often been questioned by dieticians, nutritionists, and food specialists, organics have grown more popular.
Nutritionally, organic food hasn’t yet been proven superior to conventional food. The way in which organics are deemed better is that they limit or rule out exposure to chemical residues.
Foods recommended for buying organic
Some foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, can be more contaminated with chemical residues, which is why it’s recommended that people purchase organic ahead of other foods, this includes: