January 31, 2011
Throughout the history of the world, food has been grown using techniques described as organic. However, in the last 100 years conventional farming methods have increasingly relied on the use manufactured compounds such as pesticides and fertilizers, as well as using genetically modified seed. Organic fruits refer to produce grown using natural techniques with no chemicals or with only organic compounds.
Many countries have strict certification rules for labeling fruits and vegetables as organic. The United States, Canada and the European Union are some examples. In the United States, certification is outlined by the state departments of agriculture and conditions include no irradiation, no genetic modification, and most pesticides and fertilizers prohibited. The certification process can be quite costly, particularly for small farmers, which is one of the main reasons conventional fruit farming is still used by the majority of growers.
Studies done on organically grown fruit have revealed several benefits in terms of nutrient content, flavor and shelf life. According to research, organic strawberries have higher levels of antioxidants and ascorbic acid. Their shelf life is longer and with certain varieties the flavor and sweetness was much better.
It is unfortunate that many organic products are more expensive (sometimes up to double in price) and less readily available than non-organic ones. Fortunately though, organic foods are now becoming more affordable as consumers are increasingly health conscious and searching for healthier food options.
Organic fruits can be found in many supermarkets and grocery stores, usually in a separate organic foods section. Open air farmer’s markets are also another place to purchase them. Some individual small-scale farmers open up their orchards to members of the public to come and pick their own fruit for a small fee.
Other benefits of organic farming is that it’s healthier for the environment, it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, and it maintains the biodiversity of fruiting plants. In the latter case, many commercial farming systems have reduced our fruit options to just a few genetically modified varieties, meaning that many indigenous fruit species are in danger of going extinct.
Often times organic produce is grown by small, individual local farmers. Purchasing organic varieties helps to support local economies and reduce the pollution caused while transporting fruits over long distances by road or air.
Organic fruit are not necessarily free of pesticides, however it seems that less of the toxins are retained in the body from organic varieties. Studies done on children have shown that the pesticide levels in the urine of youngsters who ate mainly organically grown produce was five to seven times less than for those who ate fruit grown using conventional farming techniques. This is good news for parents who buy fruit for their children and weaning babies.
Some fruit have a higher tendency for pesticide residue, for example strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, pears, cherries and nectarines. If you’re wondering which organic fruit varieties you should select first, then these are the ones. Fruits such as pineapples, papaya, avocados, bananas, kiwi and mangoes generally have minimal pesticide residues in comparison to the non-organic varieties.
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Robert Perry specializes in the building of income producing niche websites, usually using Google AdSense ads. For $75 he builds a 5 article website that the search engines love. You should visit his site. http://www.thenichebuilders.com
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January 25, 2011
As we learn more about food and the toxins that can often be found in our food, it is becoming clear that simply eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not the only way to improve a diet. The purity of the food that you are eating also needs to be taken into consideration. The way that food is grown or raised can have an impact on your health.
What’s the difference between conventional food and organic food?
The main difference between conventional food and organic food is the way the food is grown and processed. Conventional food can contain chemicals from fertilizers and insecticides, but they are grown with natural fertilizers, crop rotation, and animals are given space to roam freely. There are legal standards that need to be met in order for food to be marked organic. These standards include:
o The food must be grown in soil that does not contain chemicals including, sewage sludge, potassium chloride, or lead salts. The soil must be free of such chemicals for at least three years before the first organic harvest.
o Food cannot be modified in any way. This includes use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), irradiation and additives.
o They must be kept separate from non-organic food through all of the stages of growing and processing.
o Organic livestock must be fed food that is 100 percent organic.
o The animals must have access to the outdoors, including room for appropriate exercise.
What are the negative effects of pesticides in conventional food?
Mount Sinai School of Medicine conducted a study that tested for pollutants in the human body. An average of 84 chemicals was found in an individual’s blood, some of which had been outlawed for years. This is known as the “chemical body burden” and has been linked to developmental delays, motor dysfunction, and behavioral disorders.
GMOs or genetically modified organisms can also have negative health impacts. Genetic engineering in food began in order to try to increase the benefits that can be found in certain types of fruits and vegetables. Beginning in 1994, genetically engineered foods could be found in supermarkets. The possible negative health effects associated with GMOs include new or unknown allergies, decreased levels of nutrition, increased levels the toxins and antibiotic resistance.
As concern over food-borne illness has increased, many countries have approved food irradiation, which is the exposure of food to a small amount of radiation in order to kill bacteria, such as E.coli and Salmonella. During the radiation, the food is exposed to known carcinogens, but the risks to the consumer are still unknown.
What are the benefits of eating organic foods?
Not only do organic foods eliminate the dangers posed by pesticides, GMOs, and irradiation, but they also provide additional health benefits of their own.
o They contain more antioxidants than conventional foods. Pesticides used in the growing of conventional food reduce the plant’s chemicals that create antioxidants.
o They have higher levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, among other nutrients.
Where can I buy organic foods?
They can be found in most supermarkets or groceries. Ask your grocer if your store carries organic food. If not, they may be able to begin to order more or direct you to a nearby store that does carry organic foods. Once you start eating these foods, you will be well on your way to an improved diet that will leave you feeling healthier than ever!
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January 17, 2011
Organic certification is a process of certification for organic food producers and the producers of other organic agricultural products. Any business that is directly involved in the food production process can seek certification, and this includes the suppliers of seeds and growing materials, farmers, companies that process food items, and restaurants and retailers as well.
From one country to the next you will find that the requirements for organic certification vary, but there are usually production standards in place that dictate growing, storage, packaging, processing and shipping requirements.
These production standards require the avoidance of synthetic chemicals, like pesticides, food additives, fertilizers, antibiotics, organisms that are genetically modified, the use of sewage sludge and irradiation. They also require keeping detailed written records of sales and production, and the use of farmland that has been completely free of all chemical inputs for at least three or more years.
In order to obtain organic certification, it is also required that organic products be completely physically separated from non certified food products, and every certified organic site is required to undergo periodic inspections to show that standards are being maintained.
The concept of organic certification addresses a growing demand for organic food on a truly worldwide level. Certified organic food products exist to assure the quality of the food that we eat, while promoting commerce at the same time. In the earliest days of the organic movement, organic certification was not required but as more consumers turn toward organic food products through the more traditional channels like grocery stores and supermarkets, the need for certification has grown exponentially. In many countries the certification process is overseen by the government, which means that there are legal restrictions on using the term “organic”. Certified organic food product producers are also held to the same level of food health and safety standards as non-certified food producers.
What makes these certifications for organically produced foods such an outstanding idea is that they show consumers which food products can be trusted. Because certified organic food products are held to guidelines and standards, consumers who purchase food items that are certified organic can rest assured that they are grown right, without chemicals or additives, ensuring healthy and risk free food products. The organic movement is growing at a quick and steady pace as more consumers realize the health benefits associated with buying organic.
As more and more consumers turn toward certified organic food products to feed themselves and their families, the guidelines associated with organic certification tend to grow increasingly specific. Growing and processing food organically is not a difficult task at all for most food producers, but it does require that these companies take a long and hard look at the way that they regard the production of food, especially when it comes to growing naturally without pesticides or other chemicals and additives.
Michael Rupkalvis operates the LifeFormulas website, which offers a unique blog about his day-to-day activities with ITV Ventures and their many health-related products. One of the products he sells through that business is ITV Figo Juice, which is a certified organic, unique acai berry based juice that contains antioxidants as well as a host of other nutrients.
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January 12, 2011
Organic foods are one of a number of healthy food trends that is developing into a longer term commitment to healthier farming practices, and healthier food. It is not only that organic food is healthier to eat; it is also healthier for the environment. Other food trends include SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, environmental) and 100 mile (buying from local growers) foods.
Do you know where your food comes from? Are the asparagus you buy in November coming from a local farmer, or are they being flown in from around the world? What does it cost in energy and environmental impact to get the food from the farm to your table? Do you know the environmental impact of eating red meat? It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef.
Large scale food production – often accomplished through genetically engineered foods – is supported by manufacturers because they can earn more money from more production; and is supported by governments who want to ensure that their citizens have access to food (the premise is that unhealthy food is better than no food). There are more than 6 billion humans in the world, many of whom do not have enough food to eat. But what is the cost to the planet of producing on a mass scale?
Genetic modification, chemicals, pesticides, and intensive farming are just some of the techniques used to increase food production. And those techniques have negative impacts on the environment: from changing the genetic make-up of food, to contamination of land and water, to overworking land. Those food production techniques also result in food with less nutritional value.
Organic food advantages include healthier nutrients in the food and better treatment of the land, water and air. However organic food critics are concerned that the higher cost of producing organic fruits, vegetables, grains and meats results in a limited ability to produce on a mass scale.
Is organic food production sustainable?
Some say that only production of genetically modified foods can supply the demand of our growing global population. Organic food has been getting more attention in the media, in stores, in markets and in homes because more and more people are starting to recognize the importance of lessening our impact on the planet.
One way of doing so is to eat locally grown organic food. We have all begun to experience the effect of a warming climate; weather patterns are changing and intensifying. It is time to take action. After growth and harvesting, the average environmental footprint of non-organic food is 11 per cent for transportation, 46 per cent for production and processing, and 25 per cent for food preparation (storing in fridge, washing, cutting, preparing, and cooking).
The goal is to reduce the transportation, production, processing and even food preparation outputs: if food is grown locally and purchased locally transportation will be reduced; organic foods use less processing and because preservatives are not used, organic products are purchased on an as-used basis (no long shelf life for fresh organic vegetables, fruits, meats and grains).
Eating foods that are grown locally is better for the planet: a reduction of food miles – the distance that food travels from farm to warehouse to store to your fridge and then the dinner table – will help to reduce the carbon footprint of our consumption. (Note: the carbon footprint is a measurement of the impact our activities have on the environment; in this specific instance, it is a measure of the fossil fuels used to grow, harvest, store, ship, and sell food.) Support local organic farmers and make organic more than just one of many healthy food trends; make it a long lasting food decision.
In addition to buying locally grown organic food, you can grow your own. Organic vegetable and fruit gardens are easy to plant and grow: you need some time and attention to manage the soil, the compost, the pests but the result of growing organic food is healthier produce and a healthier environment.
Kris Bovay is the owner of Voice Marketing Inc, a business and marketing services company.
Kris has 25 years of experience in leading large, medium and small businesses. Kris and her family have developed a passion for healthy foods and contributing to a healthier environment; their organic garden produces tasty vegetables for the family. Is organic food better? Yes. Find out more at Organic Food for Everyone. Copyright 2010 Voice Marketing Inc.
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