Can you trust the word “organic?” Know your grocer!

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And what does it truly mean? The word organic can be confusing to many of us.  We see the “organic” sign in many grocery stores, but can we rely on what we see?

The term organic currently is used to describe sustainable agricultural methods as well as food items, body lotions, textiles, beverages and more produced from those methods.

At GreenAcres, when you see the word organic you know it means there are no harmful chemicals, preservatives, fungicides or toxins in or associated with that particular product.

Truly organic products in the United States must meet certain conditions which have been in place since 2002:

  • They must bear the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s official USDA Organic Seal
  • They must be “certified organic”
  • They must contain 95% or more organic ingredients

Some products are considered organic but contain no USDA Organic Seal. There was an article in the last year that spoke to this very thing: “The grower uses sustainable growing methods but chooses not to get certified or is exempt from certification because he sells less than $5,000 worth of organic products annually.” His products in this case are considered organic.

To make the issue of organic even more confusing, some accredited certifying agents, as well as the USDA, have certified products without following their own standards of organic certification. (Yes, apparently there is the problem of politics in just about everything.)

The article in the reiterated this: “…a 2010 USDA Inspector General report found that the enforcement of federal laws governing organics is abysmal.

“Poor certification standards seriously confuse the organic issue, because if organic consumers and the organic industry can’t trust the USDA Organic Seal or certifying agents, then they’ll have trouble trusting the integrity of the organic industry altogether. This is why organic integrity among organic growers and producers is so important.”

And this is why GreenAcres relies so heavily on Mick its key produce buyer to bring in produce that truly is organic preferably from local vendors or from well-established sources Mick knows personally. Mick has worked in the produce industry as he says, “almost from the beginning of time,” and that’s one reason we always say, “KNOW YOUR GROCER.”

There are stores everywhere that advertise “organic” everything with signs and POS materials. But unless you are a discerning buyer, it behooves you to trust the people you do business with if you want to stay healthy.

“We are what we eat,” as the saying goes, and never has this been more apparent.

A five-year-old article in Psychology Today made the case for organic eating fairly plain:

“Organic food isn’t a cancer cure-all. Other lifestyle factors like eating lots of plant foods, having a healthy body weight, getting regular physical activity and adequate rest, not smoking and keeping alcohol intake low probably have a greater bearing on your cancer risk than whether you eat organic food.

“But if you are eating as if your life depended on it – and there are many in the cancer community who are – then organics should be part of the picture.” We couldn’t agree more.

Moreover, the article adds: “People should be concerned about pesticide health risk, not just the number of residues they are exposed to. (For example, we have no idea how many chemical toxins are in non-organic certified foods as farmers and ranchers can use a variety of chemicals to enhance production—think chemical cocktail—which could carry a greater risk because of the toxic mix.)

A 94% reduction in health risk from pesticides when eating organic foods is pretty good odds. Health risk is important during stages of life when humans are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of pesticides and animal drugs, for instance before and during pregnancy, through the first years of a child’s life, when battling a degenerative disease and after 60. These individuals may be constrained in their ability to break down and clear pesticides from their bodies and/or deal with the toxic insult caused by the residues.”

The liver which filters toxins from our body only has so much life in it, so it behooves all of us to watch what we eat and put on our skin.

Since the GreenAcres mission is to make each of us healthier, one person, on community at the time, we encourage you to get and stay educated. Eat organically when you can. Come to as many events and FREE seminars as possible. The more we know and share our collective knowledge, the better we’ll be. We’re in this game of life together. Let’s keep it healthy by keeping it organic.

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