The term organic has gained popularity lately, but some people may not understand what organic food means exactly. We may characterize most agricultural history as organic. In the last few decades, farmers introduced a considerable supply of non-organic foods into the food supply.
In the United States, organic foods are gaining popularity as they’re often believed to be healthier, more nutritious, and better tasting than conventional food. This has fueled the growth of an organic food movement. Consumers purchase organic foods for a variety of reasons, including environmental concerns, human health issues, and animal welfare considerations. Read on to understand more about organic food and its benefits.
What Organic Food Means
An organic product is one that is grown and processed using natural methods only. There are no synthetic chemicals used in organic food production, such as human-made insecticides and fertilizers. You’ll find a wide variety of organic goods on the market, from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats and dairy products. Several practices help achieve agricultural organic farming goals, such as enhancing the quality of the soil and water, reducing pollution and providing safe livestock habitats, enabling a natural environment, and inspiring a self-sustaining cycle of farm resources.
These practices include:
Organic agricultural practices and supplies
Here are practices and supplies that help with organic farming:
- Green manure, livestock dung, or compost can all be used to improve soil quality.
- Crop rotation – Preserving the soil’s quality and interrupting pest or disease cycles.
- Plow-in cover crops that improve soil quality while preventing erosion on vacant land
- Mulch for weed control
- Pest control using either predatory insects or insect traps
- Use of natural pesticides and a few synthetic pesticides that are allowed for organic cultivation.
In organic farming, there are prohibited materials or methods that may affect the organic quality of the produce, which include:
- Nutrient-rich synthetic fertilizers
- Using sewage sludge as a fertilizer
- Synthetic insecticides for pests’ management
- Elimination of pests and disease by irradiation
- Use of genetic engineering to increase crop yields or resistance to disease or pests
- Growth hormones and antibiotics for livestock.
Livestock agricultural practices
The best practices for organic livestock farming and their product processing include:
- Access to fresh air and a healthy way of life
- Pasture-based feed sources should meet a minimum of 30% of the grazing season’s nutritional requirements.
- Animals fed organic food
- Organic food benefits
Organic Food Benefits
The way farmers grow your food can significantly impact your mental and emotional health and the environment. If you have food allergies, you might notice a decrease in symptoms if you only eat organic foods. Organic foods have more beneficial components like antioxidants than their conventionally farmed equivalents and others, such as:
Organic food means fewer pesticides in their production. We commonly use synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insects in contemporary agriculture and whose residues remain in the food we consume. Further, they do not provide organically raised animals with antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal byproducts. Because of feeding cattle animal waste and using antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria can grow. With more room to roam and a chance to spend time outside, organically farmed animals can thrive.
Organic farming is more environmentally-friendly. Using organic farming practices reduces pollutants, conserves water, decreases soil erosion, and boosts soil fertility. People and wildlife living near such farms benefit from organic farming and the absence of synthetic pesticides.
Organic produce may offer minor to moderate increases in various nutrients. We can find certain nutrients in organic meat and milk. It’s said that organic meat and milk had higher quantities of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally grown counterparts. A rise in specific flavonoids, which have antioxidant characteristics, is the best sign of a considerable nutrient increase.
Organic food means it is free of GMOs. Pesticide-resistant GMOs and insecticide-producing genetically engineered (GE) foods are examples of GMOs and foods.
The lack of preservatives in organic food allows it to stay fresher for longer. We may also grow organic vegetables on smaller farms closer to the market, allowing them to be sold in a more fresh state.
Organic Food Labeling
The USDA has instituted an organic certification scheme that requires all organic goods to meet specific regulatory criteria. These guidelines govern the production, handling, and processing of these foods. All products designated as “organic” on the label or packaging should be USDA-certified organic. The producer can utilize an authentic USDA Organic seal if the product is certified.
Organic food producers who make less than $5,000 a year are exempt from USDA regulations. These producers must adhere to the organic food production guidelines, but they don’t need to be certified by the USDA or any other agency. They may label their products as organic, but they may not utilize the USDA Organic logo. The guidelines for the labeling of organic foods include:
100 percent organic
Certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, and other single-ingredient items are all 100% organic. Foods with over one ingredient can also be utilized with this product, provided that they all meet USDA Organic standards. These may bear the USDA seal of approval.
At least 95% of the ingredients, excluding salt and water, in multi-ingredient food are certified organic. Additional elements that aren’t organic must come from the USDA’s list of permitted substances. These may also bear the USDA stamp of approval.
Made with organic
At least 70% of the ingredients in a multi-ingredient product must be organic to qualify for a label that reads “produced with organic.” We might refer to oats as “organic” if we grew them without the use of pesticides. They must list organic substances on the product’s ingredient list. It’s possible that these products aren’t USDA certified.
We cannot label a product as organic or have the USDA certification if less than 70% of its ingredients are not organically certified. We can find organic ingredients in the list of ingredients.
Since organic food does not have preservatives, it is important to ensure that your products reach the market as quickly as possible. Castellini Company is a trusted expert at delivering fresh produce. Contact us for all fresh and organic produce delivery needs.
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