You may have heard that "going organic" is a
healthy choice for the farmers, the environment,
and your own health. But do you really understand
why it's such a positive choice? This article series
explores the benefits of choosing organic.
Reason: It checks a lot of boxes
Many of the attributes that consumers are
looking for in their food, beverages, household
items and beauty products are covered under
the banner of certified organic products.
The 2016 New Zealand Organic Market
report highlighted some of the main factors
consumers are looking for when it comes to
their purchases. One of the factors that rated
highly was for GM/GE free food. Consumers
may or may not be aware that purchasing
certified organic products instantly assures
the product does not contain any genetically
modified ingredients. So by purchasing
organic it's an easy way to ensure you're
avoiding genetically engineered food.
The report highlighted another important
factor for consumers is that their food is 100
percent natural. By choosing organic you can be
assured what you're purchasing is 100 percent
natural. However, it must be noted that the
two words are not interchangeable, as some
might believe! For example, a conventional
apple or orange is "100 percent natural" but
this doesn"t mean it has not been sprayed
with copious layers of synthetic chemicals.
So purchasing "natural" products does not
necessarily mean you are purchasing organic,
but purchasing organic does mean you are
purchasing natural. Most consumers are aware
purchasing certified organic products means
they will be avoiding synthetic chemicals but
they do not necessarily make the connection
that their "natural" product could have been
involved in a lot of chemical treatments.
Lesser known is the fact that irradiated
products or ingredients are not permitted.
Non organic food items such as herbs and
spices, herbal teas and tropical fruits may
be subjected to irradiation in order to stop
the development of insects concealed within
produce and to lengthen shelf life. The foods
are put through powerful gamma rays or
x-rays, a practice which is raising concerns in
the scientific community about nutrient loss,
free radical production, and links to diseases.
Consumers can rest assured that any certified
organic foods they purchase will not have been
Sustainability is a core, fundamental concept at
the heart of the organic movement so it can be a
good choice for those who are intent on looking
after the environment and improving it for future
generations. Organic farms vary in their efforts to
improve animal welfare and employ principles of
permaculture—just as conventional farms do. For
this reason consumers may choose to investigate
the origin of their food and products further.
Positive choices do not need to be complicated
however; and the certified organic label helps to
make purchasing easier by checking a number of
the boxes that consumers are looking for.
Note: This article was written with relevance
to New Zealand Certified Organic Standards.
Standards in other countries may vary slightly.