To establish Organic Certification, any company, farm, or food processor must pass a strict test requiring that they don't use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other potentially harmful substances that can damage your health. Organic food cannot be treated with synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, and cannot contain any Genetically Modified Organisms. Basically, to be certified Organic, a seller must prove that they are growing or making their food the way that nature intended it to be grown or made without any harmful chemical or scientific variations.
Why is it important?
Eating non-Organic (also known as Conventionally-grown) foods means that you might be consuming unnatural chemicals or GMOs. The effects of these can cause serious health problems and lower your quality of life. They can also ruin the farmland where they are grown due to chemical exposure. So, when you eat something Organic you are eating the actual food that you think you are in its natural state, as the Earth grew it, with all of its natural health benefits and nothing else added or subtracted. Choosing non-Organic means that you can't always be sure what you are eating, especially since it is not manditory for foods containing GMOs to be labeled.
A Common Misconception
Years ago, I was stopped in a grocery store and questioned about buying Organic bananas and avocados. "You're going to take the peels off anyway," this person said to me, "so why bother buying Organic?" It's a common misconception that if you take the skin off of certain fruits and veggies that you are then also removing the pesticides. The truth is, however, that since the soil is contaminated with these potentially harmful chemicals and food is nourished by soil, the food is absorbing them as they grow - pesticides don't just sit on the outside of the food waiting for it to be washed or peeled.
By purchasing Organic, I know that I'm not consuming any other chemicals or GMOs either, because there aren't just one or two pesticides that are being used on the foods we eat. The USDA has found residues from 49 different pesticides on just one variety of pepper. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer and washing your produce won't remove their residues. For more information on pesticides and Organics, visit the Environmental Working Group's website.
Now that you have all of the facts you can confidently shop for Organic foods! If you have any questions we would be happy to help further clarify. Don't let technical terms get in the way of your eating (and living!) well.
Health & happiness,
* Post by Julia Berry