I have been asked countless times about the merits of eating Organic. Organic, by definition, simply means that which contains a ‘carbon’ atom … and basically covers most material substances on the planet … even the device you’re reading this blog from contains carbon, but being an ‘organic’ computer doesn’t necessarily make it a healthy item to consume.
I bring up this literal definition to better explain how easily marketing companies can get past the labelling laws to call their product ‘organic’ – if you’re choosing to purchase organic produce/products, make sure they are ‘Certified Organic’.
Certified Organic refers to the growing, handling and storing of foods without the use of synthetically derived agents. While standards vary between countries, regions and states, most organic farmers can claim their name by using more natural means of keeping their crops safe, such as using insect traps – attracting beneficial predator micro-organisms/insects/animals – selecting disease-resistant varieties of crops, or using naturally derived and manufactured sprays/powders, deployed using equipment that’s been free of synthetic chemicals for a period of time (three years in most countries).
And all grown in soil with a history of the same chemical free time frame.
To accurately decipher which products meet the ever changing standards of Certified Organic, you can familiarise yourself with the governing bodies that monitor organic farming in your country and look for their seal of approval on the produce before purchase. I’ve listed some Australian organisations below.
So why choose organic? It’s a very valid question and a controversial one at that. Chemical pesticides were created in the first place to increase usable crop yields by protecting against the naturally occurring elements and predators. A very worthy cause and I believe we have a lot to thank science for in the creation of such aids.
Over time, however, studies have shown how the continued use of chemicals on such a large scale can negatively affect, not only the immediate health of an individual person (by ingesting carcinogens and other foreign toxins), but also the health of the environment.
As organic produce isn’t always available or affordable, the next best option is to ensure you wash your food thoroughly enough to remove the majority of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and contaminants from production, handling and transportation the food before it reaches your home.
A good way to achieve this is by washing your food thoroughly using the following procedure:
- Fill the sink or a large bowl with enough cool water to cover the fruit and vegetables.
- Add apple cider vinegar (approx. ½ cup in 3 litres of water works well) and stir.
- Add fruit and vegetables and allow them to soak for 10 minutes.
- Use a vegetable brush to scrub the dirt from vegetables with tough skin (such as pumpkin, potatoes, carrots etc).
- Rinse food off after soaking/scrubbing, then store or use.
(This practice also works wonders for keeping berries from spoiling early.)
Australian Certified Organic accredited monitoring organisations:
AUS-QUAL Limited (AUSQUAL)
ACO – Australian Certified Organic
Bio-Dynamic Research Institute
NASAA – The National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia
OFC – Organic Food Chain
Safe Food Production Queensland
Tasmanian Organic Dynamic Producers
Author: Adrienne Megan Lester
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