When so many people are getting convinced about the ill effects of conventionally grown food we have a dilemma on hands to identify what exactly means Organic Food when it comes to buying. We know that organic fruits and vegetables look the same as non-organic foods. So what is the method by which we can be doubly sure that we are buying genuine organic food.
The catch lies in Certification with which the products come. Organic foods are certified by the respective governmental agency of that particular country to cater to the growing demands environmentally aware populace. In most countries the underlying markets will only buy products certified as organic or biodynamic (this is certified organic farming with a focus on cosmic connection) by a recognised certification organisation, whose symbol can be displayed on product packaging. So these form the only products that can be legally labelled as organic for export. Also another term that we come across when we buy organic food is the products certified as ‘in conversion’ to organic which means, these products have been less than three years since conversion of them to organic has taken place.
These kind of ‘ín conversion’ produce is sold in leading supermarkets in the United Kingdom, such as Waitrose which comes with their generic organic logo with words quite lucidly explaining in the packaging that the food is ‘in conversion’ and what it means. This gives the customers a choice who are agreeable to pay a premium price knowing that the food has not been grown with chemical pesticides and it is the ‘next best thing’ after the lack of a fully organic food availability. All this is maintained after insuring proper organic integrity throughout the supply chain, which means that these produce should comply to all points with organic standards. This includes storage, handling, transport and processing. This also ensures that organic product remains thoroughly uncontaminated and separate from conventional food products.
In the United States the government regulatory body of USDA labels the food products of our country as being 100% organic based on the regulatory norms set to check the quality of products.
Let’s explore how to make out a genuine Organic product. All genuine organic products must have a Certified Organic label. This must be provided by a “Certifying Agent” as a label on the back of the package, more commonly near the end of the ingredient list. This should also include the “USDA Organic” logo on the front but in some cases if it is there on the back then we can do without the former.
Besides this it must say “Certified Organic” or and equivalent phrase “9x organic”. In case of absence of this then by law this product is less than 95% organic.
In other cases if a product is 70% to 94% organic, you will again see a “x organic” percentage label with the certifying agent seal on the back of the package. But be warned that you should not have the USDA seal, anywhere on the package.
Now we may also see other prominent labels on so called safe products. Let us see what they mean.
This label is a strictly unregulated claim as there are no governmental standards to ascertain that these products use pesticides and genetically altered seed.
This label again is totally unapproved and unverified. Only those meats which are organic-labelled can be verified to be antibiotic-free.
Fair Trade Certified.
This is a prominent food network involving international trade. It is not necessary that all foods grown by fair trade cooperatives may be farmed organically. This only means loosely that fair trade coffee, apples , bananas, etc. are “all natural,” if not labelled as CERTIFIED ORGANIC.