According to the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affair (DEFRA), organic food is produced by a farming system that avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. There is also a ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that apply to most foods.
The aim of organic agriculture is to create a system of food production that is environmental, socially and economically sustainable. It uses approaches such as crop rotation, animal and plant manures, biological pest control and even hand weeding in some cases.
What this means for the product
The overall aim of the organic approach is to farm with a closer attention paid to nature.
This means fewer chemicals used that can leak into waterways or cause other types of pollution. It is an approach that also encourages wildlife and biodiversity, restoring the countryside to what it once was while still producing the food that we need.
Another big focus is avoiding veterinary medicines such as antibiotics when raising livestock. There is a big emphasis on animal welfare, requiring animals to be kept in more natural conditions such as free-range chickens.
For most people, when we encounter organic it is through the labelling on the products that we buy. This is very strict with regulations that the Food ingredient company stick by to ensure that when something is called ‘organic’ it truly is.
For composite foods such as those containing a mixture of animal and plant products, something can only be called organic if at least 95% of the ingredients come from organically produced plantsor animals. This is an EU rule that means such foods need to be approved by an organic certification board before it can be used.
There are other labels you may see that help you understand what the food is. The Soil Association is a gold standard of organic labelling for example. You will also see that any non-organic ingredients will be listed because some things are unavoidable. Organic foods also ban all artificial colourings and sweeteners.
Is organic food healthier?
The question of whether organic foods are healthier or not is still one that hasn’t been determined decisively either way. One case for it is that they are based on the way they are produced as well as being kinder to the environment and the livestock themselves.
A report back in 2009 from the Food Standards Agency said there was no clear difference in health terms between organic and non-organic foods. But, since then, a number of smaller reports have shown this might not be the whole picture. For example, some organic produce has a slightly higher content of vitamins and minerals. And these foods have lower levels of pesticide residue and heavy metals due to their production methods.
A personal choice
Opting for organic is completely a personal choice. Here at JC Dudley, we offer a number of ingredients in organic variations so that if our customers want to offer this to their customers, we can help. For people who are concerned about their impact on the environment then organic definitely has its plus points. Even from the view of being potentially a little healthier, there’s evidence that organic could be the way to go.
To find out more about JC Dudley as a food ingredient company, get in touch today.