Organic food is produced to meet various goals. Some of these goals include maintaining environmental systems, improving human health and encouraging biodiversity and recycling resources.
In order for food to be certified organic, it must meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. Produce can be certified only after three years of growth, “without any chemicals or pesticides. Farmers must have their entire farm and equipment inspected by an independent agency to verify that it meets USDA. If the farmer passes the test, the agency provides him with a certificate proving that his produce is ‘certified organic,'” says Sabrina Rodgers, nutrition correspondent for AskMen.com. Organic livestock can be certified after having been fed with certified organic grains for a year.
It is suggested that the best place to purchase produce that is truly organic is directly from a one of the four percent of farmers producing organic food. If there are no local organic-growing farms in an area, there are now many other places to purchase organic foods. With the growing trend, many supermarkets are now carrying organic produce and meat products. Organic food can also be purchases at health food stores, at food co-ops and online. Consumers should be aware though when purchasing. Organic foods have not been preserved in any way, so the shelf life is much shorter.
In addition, health conscious consumers should not be confused by “natural” and “organic.” “Natural” simply means that the food has not been highly processed.
By now, you are probably wondering why should people buy and consume organic food. Some say there aren’t any proven benefits, but others disagree saying that there are many advantages of an organic diet. Aside from benefits like “a reduction of toxins consumed, a decrease in the amount of food additives and colorings, an avoidance of genetically-modified organisms and a reduction of the use of environmentally-unfriendly chemical production methods” Rogers says there are other benefits. “Organic food is beneficial to any person of any age,” says Ken Williams, owner of All Natural Market in Ardmore, Pa. For college students, “most tend to either be under a lot of stress or are doing a lot of partying. Organic foods help the immune system to remain closer to peak functioning,” Williams said.
Some may argue that organic may not be the way to go due to the price increase compared to conventional food. Organic is about 35 percent more expensive. This is simply due in part to the higher labor demand and the amount of crops that fail. Williams said while the price at the register may end up totaling more, if you look at each item, buyers may find that some items cost the same as non-organic foods. “There is also a back end to the cost. If you eat well, you won’t need to spend as much on getting well.”
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Posted to the web by Shawn Rice