In your quest for health I am sure by now you have heard of organic foods.
There are many different ways to define "organic". As of October, 2002, the USDA has implemented a certification for all organic foods, which Wikipedia defines as the following:
"Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants.
Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:
* avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc) and genetically modified organisms;
* use of farmland that has been free from chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more);
* keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail);
* maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
* undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producer. Being able to put the word "organic" on a food product is a valuable marketing advantage in today's consumer market. Certification is intended to protect consumers from misuse of the term, and make buying organics easy. However, the organic labeling made possible by certification itself usually requires explanation.
In the US, federal organic legislation defines three levels of organics. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled "100% organic".
Products with 95% organic ingredients can use the word "organic". Both may also display the USDA organic seal.
A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients". In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them. Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients can not advertise this information to consumers and can only mention this fact in the product's ingredient statement. Similar percentages and labels apply in the EU."-Wikipedia
Things have certainly changed in the field of organic foods and we should be encouraged but also cautious at the same time. The words "natural" and "authentic" are being put on labels of foods and supplements and should not be misinterpreted as "organic". This being said, we need to be diligent in learning the facts and reading the labels very carefully! As you will see very soon if not already, some of the commercial grocery store chains are starting to tout their "organic" sections, but remember to read those labels. Quite often there is not a clear separation of certified organic foods and commercial foods in these stores.
Super store Wal-Mart even announced last month that it would greatly expand its organic products nationally. We shouldn't be surprised at that since the $15 billion organic industry has grown at least 20% annually for the past 15 years, according to the Organic Trade Association. "Consumers' awareness and demand is now there," says Howard Solganik, a consultant. "The big retailers now believe they can sell reasonable quantities of organics."
These changes leave long time organic grocery chain Whole Foods executives excited yet concerned. "This is the final sign that we're not a fad," says Walter Robb, co-president of Whole Foods 185 stores in 30 states. But he adds: "They're chasing our shadow. We won't be tomorrow what we are today." He may very well be correct. If consumers start buying in commercial stores thinking that their new "organic sections" are all safe foods, they may be sorely mistaken. The incentive to buy at the commercial stores is obvious. There are more of them and based on their high volume, they are able to get better deals on pricing. The problem is, these stores will most likely be buying products from large manufacturers who are also trying to cash in on the rising healthy food demand.
What that means is, you may see more natural "wonder bread" type products out there, so make sure you are reading labels to ensure that these products still line up with what your body needs. As an example, I tell patients to eat whole wheat breads but many types of bread out there are labeled as wheat but still enrich and bleach their flour so you need to read the labels carefully and look for those key words.
Enriching involves the stripping out of over 40 vitamins and minerals while putting back three B vitamins and iron, typically. Hardly enriching by my definition! Bleaching is just as it sounds, pouring bleach in with the dough. The food industry can give as many reasons as they desire to explain why they bleach, but the truth is, its BLEACH! Would you pour it on your full dinner plates at home? Also, these breads which say they are made from "wheat" may use hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup. Hydrogenated oil is the worst oil you could give your body and high fructose corn syrup is not much different when absorbed chemically in the body as white sugar or sucrose.
I know you are striving for excellence, and for that I applaud you! Make sure you take all the information in this article to heart. This true info is being shared with you to prevent your body from failing, so apply it into your lifestyle! Keep up the good work, and I will speak to you again soon.
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