Thinking about going Organic?
Let us give you a quick background because we know you don’t know everything. The USDA Organic certification guarantees how ingredients and agricultural products are grown, raised or produced. It means you can rest easy knowing that your food has maintained the organic integrity that began on the farm.
Here are some specifics:
Ain’t no GMOs in Organic
here are no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in USDA Certified Organic products! None! Not allowed! Away with you! An organic farmer cannot use GMO-seeds and organic cattle cannot eat grains, corn or alfalfa feed with GMO contents. In fact, organic farmers are expected to show and prove they aren’t using GMOs and that their products are not contaminated by GMOs.
What’s like, wrong with GMOs, though?
Ugh, GMOs not only affect the integrity of seeds, plants and the food supply, studies have pointed to possible long-term consequences on human health. Sooooo, just like we take our health seriously, it’s nice to see that when it comes to organic, the USDA does as well.
Organic Cows? Organic Chickens?
Organic includes how chickens, pigs and cows are raised and treated, too. Organic farmers can’t use antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones at any time to raise animals. The animals have to be fed a vegetarian diet that is 100% organic (Hey cow, can you send me that recipe?). So, that means the feed can’t include GMOs or toxic synthetic pesticides. Chickens are required to have safe, cage-free living conditions, while all animals must have access to the outdoors and pasture. Cows must graze on grass for a minimum of one third of their lives. Moooo.
Yeah, so you can’t really get certified organic seafood…
But… But… but my friend said... YOUR FRIEND IS WRONG. It doesn’t matter if seafood is farm raised or wild caught, USDA Organic regulations do not include standards for seafood and that’s unlikely to change soon. If you see organic seafood at the grocery store or on a menu, know that it’s likely imported, usually from northern Europe (according to the non-profit Food and Water Watch) and if it’s labeled organic that’s an indication it’s farmed and not wild-caught.
The Environmental Impact
Yeah, Organic provides us with food free of pesticides and chemicals, but it also supports the environment, biodiversity and the health of all people who work on organic farms. Pretty good effects! Pesticides and fertilizers may be great for fending off weeds and increasing yields, but they negatively impact the birds and the bees (stop.) and insects that depend on those plants. Using these chemicals impacts the whole food chain around the crop, affecting everyone and everything. And of course, those chemicals aren’t any good for the farmers either. The EPA estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 farm workers are poisoned by pesticides each year, jeez. Many more are exposed to the chemicals but have more minor side effects. When you go Organic it has a ripple effect far beyond our own health that we think makes it more than worth it!