It’s exhausting; I know. The dilemma of choices is in our face on a daily basis. Organic, non-organic, GMO, non-GMO; local, pasteured, grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free.
It could curl your hair!
Well, for me, The Cultivator newlsetter has solved the dilemma once and for all and it’s a beautiful thing.
Answering most-asked questions, they addressed the issue or what organic is and what it isn’t. Their research and education efforts support the integrity of the organic label.
In their own words (edited for length but you can head to www.cornucopia.org for more info):
“Can I trust the organic label?
The organic label is the most stringently regulated and trustworthy label on foods in the marketplace. The majority of participants in the organic community have high integrity.
It’s a shame that the USDA’s accreditation program has yet to hit its stride and guarantee the authenticity of all organic food. In the meantime, we encourage you to consult the scorecards on The Cornucopia Institute website so you can support the true heroes in this industry.
There are few alternatives to certified organic food, and fighting for the authenticity of the organic label is worth all of our efforts.
Do organic farmers use pesticides?
Organic farmers start by incorporating management practices that eliminate the need for pesticides, including crop rotation, high in-field crop diversity, resistant varieties and healthy soil to avoid the use of pesticides. As a last resort, in cases where there is a disease or pest outbreak, there are a few approved pesticides that have been rigorously evaluated for their safety and impact on human health and the environment. Examples include botanical-based insecticides and soaps for insect control.
What’s more important, looking for the organic seal or the non-GMO verified logo?
By definition, GMO’s are strictly prohibited in organic farming and food production. Perhaps even more importantly, organic farmers do not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers to grow crops or feed and they cannot administer antibiotics, growth hormones and many other banned drugs to livestock. They honor mandates to improve soil health.
Non-GMO products are only verified not to contain genetically modified ingredients. Non-GMO farmers do use synthetic agrochemicals and petrochemical-based fertilizers. They are not required to allow their livestock access to the outdoors or pasture and are not restricted from administering a myriad of pharmaceuticals prohibited from use in organics.
Why should I pay the extra price for organic?
When you buy organic, you are paying for superior environmental stewardship, a more humane animal husbandry model and financially sustainable support for many more family farmers.
Rinsing is not sufficient to remove all contamination from pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and other toxins. Some modern pesticides act systemically and their residues can be found in every cell of the plant, not just on the surface.
I have been convinced for years that organic is worth the time to seek it out and the price to buy it. I know people face economic challenges. I do as well. I always joke that I work with PBS not CBS and so I have to make my choices as carefully as the next person does. But for me, it’s worth tightening my budget in other areas and buy the best organic food I can to nourish my loved ones.