Answers to Some Important Questions Asked About Organic Foods

Many people are growing more interested in searching for different ways to keep themselves healthy. They are willing to change their current lifestyle to a healthier one, which for some people can mean trying organic foods.

Organic foods are not for everybody. Unfortunately, they are dearer and for anyone on a fixed budget, this can be a problem.

Below are FAQs about organic foods that may help you to decide whether to start eating organic foods or not:

1. What is the meaning of organic, relating to food?
Organic food means they do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are grown without artificial pesticides, fertilisers or any chemicals. There is some variation to the standards of organic rules in different countries because they have the freedom to set their own regulations and guidelines. Generally, to be sanctioned as organic, the land must be tested free from and all banned chemicals every year for 3 consecutive years or more before use.

2. What are genetically modified organisms?
Many people believe that GMOs have harmful effects mainly because it alters the natural genetic composition of the food source. Thus, there are many countries that have already banned the use of this on their farms.

3. Are pesticides used by organic food farmers?
No artificial pesticides. They are not permitted. Organic farmers tend to make use of other means of keeping insects off their crops instead.

4. How will you know if it is organic?
Organic products are tagged or labelled with an organic seal. This seal means that the product is certified as 95% organic; the other 5% is not confirmed because of the logistics of testing 100% of everything at that time. There are other options to take into account packaging, which may have an effect on the food.

Other products can have a lesser percentage of organic ingredients, especially products like toiletries which cannot be presented as organic because of some ingredients which cannot be classed as organic even though they are not chemical-based. Such products can still have a notice on the product stating the percentage of organic ingredients. All the other non-organic ingredients must be declared on the product.

5. What sort of organic products are there on the market today?

Here are a few examples:

• Fresh fruit and vegetables
• Baby food
• pet food
• Bread, pasta, and rice
• Canned soups
• Cheese
• Chocolate
• Clothes
• Juices, soda, milk, and wine
• Meat
• Potato chips
• Sanitary napkins/tampons
• Skincare products, make-up, shampoo
• Spices
• Vitamins/food supplements

6. Why are organic meats and chicken beneficial?
They are beneficial because they are not injected with hormones or other synthetic products. Animals on an organic farm only eat organic foods and graze in pastures without any harmful chemicals. Free-range chickens are allowed to freely roam and peck in their field without being caged up. This ensures that the animals are living healthily and happily, and a healthy bird will contain fewer toxins.

7. Why do some people go organic?
Organic foods are attractive to many because they are perceived to be healthier options than regular foods. They have greater levels of nutrients thus making them healthier to eat. Also, they leave no side effects in the body from toxins because they are not grown using chemicals.

8. How can honey be organic?
To be certified as organic, all of the land in a 5-mile radius from the hive must be passed as organic for 3 consecutive years. This is the average maximum distance a honey bee will fly from the hive. This is an area of over 78.5 square miles, all of which must have no chemicals used on it for over 3 years.

The decision as to whether to eat organic foods or to stay with standard foods can be a dilemma. You have to weigh up all the pros and cons and determine what is right for you. However, because we don't have a label on non-organic food that says "This food contains chemicals", sadly it doesn't mean it doesn't, and it doesn't mean that over time the chemicals in your food will not cause you ill health. The choice is yours, but in years to come would you not prefer to be sure of being free of illness, rather than possibly being sick and wish you'd eaten organic instead?

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