What is organic?
Happy Organic September! September is a month dedicated to all things organic, led by the Soil Association. We're celebrating this month by telling you what organic means, reasons to go organic and how you can make simple changes to live an organic lifestyle.
At Naturya, we are proud to have our products certified by the Soil Association who are the UK’s leading organic certification body so you know that our single-ingredient superfoods are organic, GMO-free and high quality. We do our very best to source our superfoods sustainably and ensure that the farms that supply to us are making every effort to look after their workers and the environment.
You’ve probably heard that organic food is good for your health and beneficial for the planet and wildlife too. But what does organic actually mean? What is the difference between organic and non-organic?
So that you can understand more about the benefits of choosing organic, we’ve unpacked what organic means.
What is organic food?
The journey of organic food is completely traceable from the farm to your plate. Since the standards for organic certification are so strict and tightly regulated, you can trust that what you’re eating is genuinely organic.
Organic means fewer pesticides. Organic food is produced on farms that avoid using synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. But despite what most people think, organic food isn’t 100% free of pesticides. Non-organic farming can expose crops to nearly 300 pesticides and herbicides (weed killers) but organic farmers are only permitted to use up to 20 pesticides which must all be derived from natural sources only, making them better not only for the crops but for the planet and our bodies too.
Even when you take your non-organic produce home and wash it, you are still exposed to the risk of consuming pesticides. Unfortunately, thoroughly washing and scrubbing your fruit and vegetables doesn’t make a huge difference. This is because the residue of pesticides penetrates through the peel into the flesh of fruit and vegetables. In 2017, testing carried out by the UK Government discovered that there are as many as 47% pesticide residues in British food.
Organic means GMO-free. GMOS (genetically modified organisms) are plants and animals that have had their DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering. GMOs are strictly forbidden in organic farming and you can trust that certified organic food is free of any GMOs, hormones or antibiotics. With the concerns that GMOs can cause damage to the environment and our health, it’s probably best to avoid them.
Organic means happier and healthier animals. Organic farming is better for animals ensuring that they have the highest living standards. Animals must have access to pasture, be free-range and have plenty of space to live in which reduces stress and the risk of disease. Animals are free to graze naturally on organic pasture where only natural fertilisers are used. Organic certification also requires that animals on organic farms are fed a natural diet that is as natural as possible and completely free from GMOs. Routinely giving antibiotics to animals is also banned.
Organic means protecting nature. Organic farming uses methods that are less harmful to the environment. Instead of relying on synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, organic farmers use natural methods such as crop rotation, companion planting, and animal manure. Handling and treating the soil using safe natural ways reduces damage and improves the health of the soil since soil is a non-renewable resource. Since synthetic chemicals are banned in organic farming, this also prevents any contamination to water systems.
Organic means a greener planet. One of the goals of organic farming is to encourage environmentally-friendly farming practices. Organic farming practices focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and contamination to water and soil. This means that organic farms have a lower environmental impact than conventional farms. If half of all farming in the EU converted to organic by 2030, we could cut almost a quarter (23%) of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions simply by the increased practice of soil carbon sequestration and reducing the use of mineral fertilisers.
How can I be sure the food I buy is organic?
Always check your food labels and look for organic certifications. For composite foods to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or animals. To be called “organic”, foods must also be approved by an organic certification body.
Since some ingredients are not almost available organically, some non-organic food ingredients are permitted but all artificial colourings and sweeteners are banned in organic food.
Make sure the food you buy is certified organic. If you see the Soil Association organic symbol on the packaging, you can trust that the food you’re buying has been certified, is genuinely organic and can be fully traced back to the farm it came from.
We are proud that Naturya products are certified by The Soil Association, the UK’s leading certification body so you know that our single-ingredient superfoods are organic, GMO-free and high quality.
Explore our superfoods here.