Organic Food: Healthier for You and the Planet

Will organic food become the next "all-natural"?
While the ingredients are certified, this "industrialization of organic" down conveyor belts and into a carbon-intensive supply chain is a bit antithetical to organics' original purpose of creating "an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony", as defined by the USDA National Organic Standards Board.

Still, the only way to be sure that the food you're eating is organic, short of growing it yourself (or buying it from someone you trust not to have soaked it in pesticides), is looking for certification marks, like the USDA Organic Seal, pictured here. Elsewhere, similar government regulations and third-party inspectors certify that food is produced to certain standards; in Australia, it's the NASAA Organic Standards, in Japan, the JAS Standards must be met. In the United States, In the United States, the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C.A. § 6501-22) required that the USDA develop national standards for organic products. The regulations (7 C.F.R. Part 205) are enforced by the USDA through the National Organic Program under this act. These laws essentially require that any product that claims to be organic must have been manufactured and handled according to specific NOP requirements. A USDA Organic seal identifies products with at least 95% organic ingredients.

But what are the benefits to you, and to the land, when it comes to organic food? Read on for the scientific benefits of organic food and organic farming. Does it really taste better? You might be surprised at what we found.

Tags: Green Basics | Organic Agriculture