How To Tell If A Product Is Really Organic

How To Tell If A Product Is Really OrganicIn the 1950’s, they used to put food on the shelves. Real food.

Slowly the swaps began taking place. Artificial flavoring snuck onto food labels and pesticides began caking our produce. Our nutrients were supplemented and chemicals were thrown into the pot.

Awareness is on the rise against the “not-so-natural” products that sit on the shelves of the grocery store; Americans have begun keying into “eating organic” and “eating all natural.” It’s not a new thing, but it is also not always a simple task. After all, companies are absolutely itching to smack “organic” and “natural” all over their products.

It is a fact of life: The term “organic” has been swept up by the mainstream, making it increasingly more difficult to distinguish from the rubble of consumer claims that dance upon our packaging.

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:

“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”

So it sounds simple enough, and rest assured, it is out there. We just need to do a little more investigative work these days to get it onto our plates.

Go By The Logo

So what are we looking for? What is going to seal the deal for us that our food is actually organic? Simple. The USDA logo. In 2002, the United States Department of Agriculture established guidelines to go by in order to ensure quality and truthfulness in all products. The 100% Organic logo will let you know that the ingredients in use are all organic. This sticker is commonly found on fruits, veggies, eggs and milk products.

There Is A Difference

100% organic, as written before, means exactly what it says. Translation: No synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms or additives. However, “Organic” means a product is in the 95-99% range and “Made with Organic Ingredients” contains 70-94% organic ingredients. Be mindful of the word “Organic” when it stands alone.. If you are looking to go all the way then stick with the 100%.

Natural Is Deceiving

When we hear the word “natural” we automatically assume that a product is good for us. Not always the case. The USDA labels a large quantity of packaging as natural, meaning that harmful toxins may still be used as ingredients. These days, the term “natural” is almost everywhere, leading consumers into a gauntlet of confusion. You will save yourself from a lot of hassle and toxins by looking for the organic labeling long before you go trusting the “natural” ingredients.

Stick To The Locals

The great thing about the farmer’s market is that you have a chance to talk face-to-face with the grower of your food. These individuals can tell you just about anything, from the place the food was grown to the weather conditions the crop endured. It is a chance to ask anything and everything about the product that might just find its way onto the dinner table in the hours ahead. Perhaps it’s just me, but I believe there is no greater feeling than knowing your food was plucked and grown just a few miles away.

Consult With The Grocer

Oftentimes loading up the cart and scooting out of the store can turn into an overwhelming process, especially when we are looking for the organic goods. At times it is best to consult the grocers who know it best. Ask in the produce section for someone who “knows their stuff.” A good grocer can save you time and energy in discerning whether or not a product is truly organic or just another artificially flavored fraud.


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