Buying organic food is always better, right? The answer is not always. The word “organic” means how the food was grown and not necessarily the contents of the product. Do you truly know what the term “organic” means? There are a few different definitions of the word that you will see on packaging. Below is a breakdown of their meanings.
- Certified Organic- this means that 95 percent of ingredients in a product are organic, except for salt and water.
- 100 Percent Organic– this means that 100 percent of all ingredients are organic. These products may use the USDA Organic seal.
- Made with Organic Ingredients– this means that only 70 percent of the ingredients are organic. They can contain GMO’s and chemicals.
In the past, the organic food industry was not very well regulated. As the demand for organic products grows, the regulations are getting a bit better. The following are some important guidelines for organic food that you should know about.
They can contain additives and GMOs.
There is a list of close to 40 synthetic substances that can be used in packaged organic foods.
They can contain certain pesticides.
There is a list of about 40 pesticides that are allowed to be used on organic foods.
An amendment in 2006 made it possible to add artificial ingredients if an organic ingredient isn’t available commercially.
Be on the look out for these important things when buying organic.
Did you know that you can tell how produce was grown by the sticker? If the sticker has a 4 digit code, it was conventionally grown. If there is a 5 digit code that begins with a 9, it is organic. If there is a 5 digit code that starts with an 8, it was genetically modified.
You should also look for the seal that says it is “GMO Project Verified”. There are about 1,000 products so far with the seal and the list continues to grow.
It is also good to know the sources of foods and ingredients. An good example is soybeans and soy products. Almost all soy is genetically modified , so if you buy a product that contains soy, most likely it is GMO soy. If you are going to buy soy, look for organic soybeans and soy products. Another example is canola oil. If a product has canola oil in it, most likely it is genetically modified.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find these tips helpful!
References: EWG.org, The Food Babe by Vani Hari, downtoearth.org