Why Choose Organic Ingredients?
“Organic” is the only label claim that is well defined, backed by rules, and enforced by the US and other government agencies around the world. Choosing organic ingredients provides a standard of reliability, traceability, certification and verification that ensures product integrity. “Organic” is the only category that assures consumers that they are getting what the label implies, from field to table.
Many consumers are concerned about environmental issues in non-organic farm production practices including synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, contamination of water supplies, ecosystem disruption, and petrochemical residues in the food chain. Others are concerned that the food they serve to their family is safe, healthy, and nutritious.
Consumers choose food, fiber, supplements, and personal care products for various reasons from an increasing array of labels claiming to be “nutritious,” “healthy,” “pure,” and “natural”. “Natural” likely has the most momentum at this time because it implies all of these claims in one. However, since there has been no broad legal definition of “natural,” sellers commonly define “natural” in ways never contemplated by consumers.
The Organic Story
In the beginning when man began cultivation, the world only knew of organic methods passed on from generation to generation.
After the end of World War II, synthetic chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides were introduced to agriculture. Many of these early synthetic inputs where thought to bring about the end of insects and weeds, forever.
The pesticide, DDT, banned in the US in late 1972, is one of the most well-known agricultural and home use pesticides coming out of World War II. It is still found in our drinking water and soils today — nearly four decades after it was banned. DDT is a carcinogen and neurotoxin. It causes reproductive and developmental defects and acute toxicity.
Awareness of the downside of “approved” pesticides spread among some concerned farmers and consumers, spawning the modern-day organic movement. The organic movement over the past three decades has grown from a philosophy to a regulated industry with a full spectrum of consumer products being marketed and produced world-wide.
Organic production is defined as a process. It is verified and certified by annual audits. In general, any business directly involved in food production or distribution can be certified. That includes seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. To be marketed under the USDA organic seal in the U.S., certification must be to the U.S. standards as required by the National Organic Program.
Requirements generally involve a set of standards for growing, storing, processing, packaging and shipping. Synthetic chemical inputs in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and additives are prohibited as are genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge.