Today, supermarkets are filled with certain products which say that they are "organic". Products with labels such as the following are overflowing: "grass-fed", "sustainable", "natural" and "free-range" among others. Many people get confused as to the meaning of these labels. Others may just be clueless. But what does "organic" mean?
What is organic food?
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), fruits and veggies that are considered organic have been grown in farms free of these chemicals or materials: herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and sewage sludge, pesticides, bioengineered products, hormones, antibiotics, and ionizing radiation.
Meanwhile, animal products like meat, poultry and eggs, and dairy food are considered organic if the animals feed on organic products. They are also considered organic if the animals are not given any antibiotics or any other growth hormones.
Other than organic food, there is also sustainable food. In comparison to natural or organic food, the produce are usually grown using agricultural methods that are considered sustainable. This means that the methods of growing foods here are environmental-friendly, seasonal and help preserve agricultural land.
Also, humane treatment of the animals is practiced here. The farmers and growers are paid fairly and it is supportive of farming communities since the produce is delivered to farmer’s markets.
This type of food, on the other hand, is grown without altering their original state. This simply means that there have no artificial ingredients or preservatives added. Meat and poultry are processed at a minimal rate only. To be considered natural foods, they must meet the USDA standards.
Both natural and sustainable foods are different from organic food. However, if you need more information, especially about the different labels aside from these, you can always go to websites that provide many information about these and know more about their standards.
Is it healthy?
The USDA makes no claims if organic food is safer and more nutritious than other products. However, supporters of organic food believe so. But just to be on the safe side, if you have purchased organic meat, you have to cook them within the temperature of 180 degrees for poultry and 160 degrees for beef. For fruits and veggies, wash them thoroughly. If you think there is still dirt on them, peel off the skin.