Look Beyond the Label : The Truth about Organic Food

Look Beyond the Label : The Truth about Organic Food

April 2014

Lianne Beland

Organic food is not the same now as it was a few decades ago.  Typically, an organic food is certified organic by the USDA when it or its seed has not been genetically modified, free of artificial fertilizers and is completely free of pesticides.  Animals, on the other hand, are considered organic when they have not been genetically modified, are one hundred percent organically fed and are not always confined.  It is very unfortunate that nowadays, we can’t always fully trust a product that has been labeled as organic to actually be organic.  While shopping for organic foods, it is important to look beyond the label. 

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            First off, organic products have been recently trending more then ever.  We seek to become healthier, and by that, we seek to buy and consume natural and organic food.  As a society, we have noticed this growing trend, and thus, so have some of the biggest corporations in the world.  These corporations saw big opportunities for money in organic branding.  Consequently, most organic brands nowadays have been bought out and are now owned by corporations such as Coca Cola, Cargill, Nestle, Pepsi etc…  When these companies buy out organic farms and business, they tend to reduce the importance of organic ingredients that was originally placed in the product.  Not to mention they often seek for cheaper, alternative ingredients. 

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Shopping locally is always your best bet at finding organic products.  It is important to know that not all farmer’s markets carry organic produce.  When grocery shopping in these types of markets, try to look for a USDA seal, or go even further and contact the National Organic Program to be certain that they are indeed organic.  Shopping in farmer’s markets and other independently owned stores or farms is your best bet at finding actual organic products, as opposed to shopping in chain grocery stores. 

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While shopping in bigger, chain grocery stores, it is important to be aware that these stores generally sell products from large, organic factory farms, which are not the same as family owned businesses.  If you choose to shop for organics in bigger grocery stores, be aware that there are over two hundred and fifty non-organic ingredients that are allowed in organic products.  Although these ingredients have been proven to be un-harmful towards human beings, they are certainly not organic.  Thus, even though we are consuming these ingredients that aren’t causing us any harm, there is still a feeling of betrayal when an organic-labeled food is in reality, not fully organic. 

 Workers at US farmer Mike Fox's packing plant sort spring onions on his vegetable farm near Mexicali

Try to familiarize yourself with these ingredients and research the certifications of the brands you are supporting when purchasing food.  Look beyond the label, and even beyond the ingredients listed on the back.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/truth-about-organic-foods
  2. http://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/valleygirlblog/fitness-health/before-you-buy-the-truth-behind-organic-foods/
  3. http://www.policymic.com/articles/82881/the-truth-about-who-owns-organic-food-companies-in-one-chart
  4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyna-de-laurentiis/misleading-food-labels_b_2627388.html
  5. http://www.alternet.org/story/143647/who’s_really_behind_organic_food_brands_like_amy’s_and_odwalla

 

 

Photo Sources:

 

  1. http://mylipgloz.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/organic_and_natural_symbolbigstockphoto.jpg
  2. http://www.ams.usda.gov/images/tm/4colorsealgif.gif
  3. http://images.realtytoday.com/data/images/full/6307/factory-farming.jpg
  4. http://www.livingintherealworld.net/healthy/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/boulder-chips-ingredient-list.jpg