in your own backyard knowing you are doing something beneficial for your health and your pocketbook.
can be a great asset not only to your physical health and well being but could also improve your financial health as well. What is this organic thing all about anyhow? Well I’m sure by now that a “organic produce” section has come to your favorite grocery store. You know, the place where you can buy supposedly fresh fruit and vegetables without worrying if synthetic fertilizers and harmful pesticides among other harmful practices were used in their production.
Fresh? Maybe, but for many of us this produce has to travel 2000 miles or more before landing on the grocery store shelves. Is it really organic? Well, we have what is called Organic certification and it addresses a growing worldwide demand for organic food, some 20% a year, and is intended to assure quality, prevent fraud, and to promote commerce. Enter the bureaucracy, the NOP, USDA, and the QAI the largest organic certifier in the world.
all have comprehensive organic legislation, and the term “organic” can be used only by certified producers. Being able to use the word “organic” on food products is a valuable marketing tool in today’s consumer market, but does not guarantee that the products are legitimately organic. Organic labeling made possible by certification itself usually requires some explanation. In countries without organic laws, government guidelines may or may not exist, here certification is handled by non-profit organizations and private companies. In addition the USDA makes no claim that commercial organically grown food is safer.
“100% organic”- single ingredient such as a fruit, vegetable, meat, milk and cheese (excludes water and salt).
“Organic”- multiple ingredient foods which are 95 to 100% organic.
“Made with organic ingredients” – 70% of the ingredients are organic and can appear on the front of the package, naming the specific ingredients.
“Contains organic ingredients” – contains less than 70% organic ingredients. Cannot be advertised to the public and can only be mentioned in the ingredient statement.
that Small farmers with less than ,000 in organic sales, such as those selling at small farmers’ markets, are exempt from the certification process but they still must be truthful in their label claims and comply with the new government standards. However, it is the blind faith that I find amazing that is exhibited by so many of us that frequent these markets. What keeps a farmer from growing or buying non-organic produce and selling it as organic? Let us hope it is their reputation and integrity.
In July 2008, it was reported that organic powdered ginger that had been certified by QAI, was found when tested to be contaminated with the banned pesticide Aldicarb. The organic ginger from which the QAI certified organic powdered ginger originated had been certified organic by two other USDA accredited certifying agents in China. Under Chinese law, foreigners may not inspect Chinese farms. Also, under USDA National Organic Program rules QAI as an accredited certifying agent must accept the certification decisions of other accredited certifying agents. In this case I assume Chinese nationals .QAI was not the certifier in China.
Will you sleep better at night knowing all those bureaucratic acronyms are at work for you? The only thing that you can be sure about when buying organic food in a supermarket is that it will cost you more.
Grow fresh organic vegetables in your backyard, be in control. There are new techniques and methods available today that allow you to have greater yields in smaller spaces with less work, many times all year long. Not only will you save money, eat healthier but there should be plenty left over for you and the kids to sell out front to your neighbors or at a table at your nearest outdoor market making hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars a year.