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Organic Fortnight (UK)

3rd - 18th September 2011

 

Jump to:-  Definition of the word "Organic"  |  Why Buy Organic?

 

The word organic is defined by law and in the UK it is managed by The Soil Association.  Organic is a ‘whole system’ approach to farming and food production which recognises the close interrelationships between all parts of the production system -  from soil to consumer.


In most places where organic food is sold, the costs tend to be much higher than the available non-organic foods which are sold alongside them, leading many people to opt for the cheaper products. This article will explain what the word organic really means in practical terms, both in relation to the environment and the consumer.

 

What does the word Organic really mean?

Any food produced or labelled as organic must meet a strict set of standards which include:-

• Restricting the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides

•  The use of  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic farming or food processing is strictly prohibited

• Producing food of high quality in sufficient quantity.

• Maintaining the long term fertility and biological activity of soils.

• Treating livestock ethically, meeting their physiological and behavioural needs.

• Rearing animals without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers which is common in intensive livestock farming

• Respecting regional, environmental, climatic and geographic differences and (appropriate) practices that have evolved in response to them.

• Maximising use of renewable resources and recycling and minimise pollution and waste.

The process of converting from non-organic to organic status can take up to two years, with regular monitoring and inspections throughout the period and all organic farms are routinely inspected at least once a year after they have been licensed to ensure the standards are upheld.

The natural extra wastage as the result of not using pesticides contributes to why organic foods tend to be more expensive. However, if you take into consideration the £120m which British tax-payers pay every year for chemicals to be removed from drinking water, mainly as a result of the pesticides used in farming, it could be argued that the cost of organic produce is reasonable.

Why Buy Organic?

1. Taste
Organic fruit and vegetables tend to grow more slowly and have a lower water content, which contributes towards the fuller flavour to which many organic eaters attest.
 

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2. More Nutrients
On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as antioxidants. Organic milk is naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)  than non-organic milk.

3. Fewer additives
Only 32 of the 290 food additives approved for use across the EU are permitted in organic food.

4. No pesticides
Over 311 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and residues are often present in non-organic food.

5. GM-free
Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards. Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported to feed non organic livestock that produce much, if not most, of the non organic pork, bacon, milk cheese and other dairy products in our supermarkets.

6. Fewer Drugs
Antibiotic additives routinely added to animal food to speed animal growth are linked with bacterial resistance in humans to the same or closely related antibiotics. Soil Association standards ban the routine use of antibiotics.

7. Good for livestock, wildlife and the environment
Overall organic farming is kinder to animals and supports more farmland wildlife than non-organic farming.

Sources:  http://www.soilassociation.org

 

 

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