Organic, natural, huh? What are we buying?

When someone asks me, “What do you eat?, my response is, “I eat clean, with a few cheat meals here and there.” I mean what would the world be without chips and queso, right?! When we shop and fill our carts with foods labeled all natural, organic and healthy, do we know what we are really buying? Let’s dive in and educate ourselves so when we discuss our newfound passion for buying organic, we know what we are talking about.

The term “organic” refers not to only the food itself, but also how it was produced. Foods labeled organic must be certified by the National Organic Program. They must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity- two key elements of environmentally sustainalble agriculture. Crops must be grown without the use of synthentic pesticides, bio-engineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock must have access to outdoors and be given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic foods may not be irradiated.

The term “natural” applies broadly to foods that are minimally processed and free of synthitic preservatives; artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and other artificial additives; growth hormones, antibiotics, hydogenated oils, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. Most foods labeled natural are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations of health codes that apply to all foods. Exceptions include meat and poultry. Also the labels must explain use of the term; all natural; no artificial ingredients.

Phew! That’s a lot to take in! But aren’t you glad you know now? To learn more read on.

Healthy Eating!
Shelly Mac

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