What is an Organic Product?
To be considered USDA certified organic, the food needs to be grown and processed according to federal guidelines such as soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Produce can legally be called organic if it has been grown on soil with no prohibited substances for three years before harvest. Meat can be legally labeled organic if the animals are raised in living conditions that accommodate natural behaviors, if they are fed 100% organic food, and they are not administered antibiotics or hormones. Multi-ingredient foods require additional considerations. They cannot contain artificial preservatives, colors, flavors and all ingredients must also be organic.
Personal Benefits of Eating Organic
Many products used to produce food include synthetic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, preservatives, and more which can be potentially harmful to humans. Some of these chemicals are probable carcinogens, have been associated with developmental delays in infants, and are linked to reduced sperm quality in men –amongst other health problems. When you buy organic, you can be confident that you will not be consuming any of these potentially harmful chemicals as you are guaranteed that your food was produced naturally.
Another benefit of eating organic is that organic milk and meats contain about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, or healthy fats. This difference is due to the way the livestock is raised including their healthier diet and more time spent outdoors.
Environmental Benefits of Eating Organic
Organic agriculture is considered to be more sustainable as well. Farmers' goal with organic food is to produce while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility or pest problems. In other words, organic agriculture takes a proactive approach rather than treating problems as they occur. Farmers of organic crops use soil-building practices that encourage soil flora and fauna, improve soil formation and structure and create more stable systems. All these factors contribute to increased nutrient and energy cycling as well as retentive abilities, which results in the crops requiring less water. Organic agriculture also reduces the use of non-renewable energy by decreasing agrochemical needs, which in turn helps mitigate the greenhouse effect. Finally, the diversity of plants and animals in this growing environment allows biodiversity to increase significantly.
Overall, purchasing organic products is good for not only you, but also the environment! It may not be feasible for every meal you consume to be 100% organic. However, even making a small effort to purchase organic products and include them in your diet can have a positive impact. If you are interested in including organic foods into your diet, explore our website to discover a wide variety of all-natural and organic snacks and meals!
McEvoy, Miles. “Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means.” USDA, 13 Mar. 2019, www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/03/22/organic-101-wh...
Naftulin, Amanda MacMillan and Julia. “4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic.” Time, Time, 27 July 2017, time.com/4871915/health-benefits-organic-food/.
“FAQ.” Organic Agriculture: What Are the Environmental Benefits of Organic Agriculture?, www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq6/en/.