September 28, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated September 29, 2021
Organic food: a way to boost sustainability and human health
During the last decades, the proliferation of fast-yielding crops, hybrid species, genetic engineering, and other ways to accelerate and double the food production resulted in the ability to provide for the growing numbers of populations worldwide.
However, such methods have led to severe environmental and health problems. The use of fertilizers and chemical products to double and protect the crops plus the irresponsible use of water sources is threatening to accelerate and worsen climate change.
Consumption of such foods fraught with chemical products might lead to various health issues. That’s why organic food production has gained popularity in recent years.
Organic food production boosts sustainability and offers healthy alternatives.
Organic farming and sustainable development:
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revealed that athird of the world’s soil has been degraded due to heavy farming techniques. Conventional farming uses synthetic and chemical products to fight diseases and increase production. Those chemical products and fertilizers are damaging the soil and wildlife, in addition to impacting human health negatively.
Organic farming, on the other hand, promotes biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. This method uses alternative methods, instead of chemicals, such as composting and crop rotations. Such methods protect the soil, wildlife, and human health. For instance, research showed that one teaspoon of compost-rich soil can produce up to one billion bacteria from 15000 species. These helpful bacteria s essential for food growth and maintaining healthy soil.
Organic farming also encourages the proper handling of local resources. For example, local seed varieties are paid more attention. This results in cost-effectiveness.
this method of farming also helps preserve water sources and keep them clean. Avoidance of pesticides and chemical products means that these harmful substances will not end up polluting water sources. Besides, unlike conventional farmers, organic farmers spend time amending soil and use mulch, both ways help preserve water.
The market for organic products has been growing steadily in recent years. This offers plenty of opportunities for local farmers and especially those in the rural areas with vast farming lands. Though new legislation is needed in most countries to promote and regulate trade and access to international organic markets.
The bottom line, this farming method promotes sustainable development in all fields. It helps to improve socio-economic and environmental conditions as well as health-related matters. People are more quality conscious than ever; that’s why organic agriculture has huge potential.
Legislations and guidelines for organic food might vary from one country to another. Still, to be labeled organic, food must be grown without the use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or engineered genes.
Livestock to be slaughtered for meat must also be feed organically and in conditions similar to their natural habitat. They also need not be administered growth hormones or antibiotics.
You might follow the guidelines of organic farming, but in order to obtain the label organic, you need to abide by strict codes.
In the United States, the department of agriculture can bestow any produce with the label organic once verified by an accredited agency.
USDA organic is a certificate awarded to farmers for produce or meat and dairy products that succeed to abide by the United States department of agriculture’s standards.
Among the crop standards, you need to abide by are the following point:
Land must contain no prohibited substances at least for three years before the plantation.
You must not use any genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation.
You have to use organic seeds.
You need to rely on tillage, crop rotation, and animal waste for soil fertilization.
Pests must be controlled and treated with biological and physical practices. If these are sufficient then you can use approved synthetic products.
Whereas livestock and poultry standards have been already mentioned above, there are further codes to follow.
Handling and processing standards should also be considered if you are applying for a USDA organic certificate.
If you are presenting a multi-ingredient product then all ingredients must be produced organically, unless it cannot be so. Organic products must be protected not to mingle with prohibited substances or non-organic items.
All products labeled organic must contain 95 % organic ingredients. If it contains only 70 percent of them the USDA label might not apply. These would be labeled as “made with” organic. Otherwise, products containing less than 70 percent can only mention the specific organic ingredients in the product.
The National Organic Program is responsible for all legislation and ensures the proper handling of organic certification.
One more thing, you need to pay attention to the labels. Some foods would carry the label "natural"; this does not imply that they are organic. Natural usually means that the product does not contain artificial and synthetic flavors or colors. It is great not to use such preservatives but it is not all that is needed to be labeled organic.
Organic foods’ health advantages:
Organic foods are way much healthier than normal foods. They contain more nutrients. Research has shown that they can contain about 50 % more omega 3 fatty acids than non-organic produce.
These foods are also poison-free since no chemical products are used during the production process. Consumption of such products eliminates or at least reduces food-borne illnesses.
Organically fed and grown livestock yield safer meat to consume. Organic certification standards require that livestock must not be given any growth hormones or antibiotics. This is definitely safer for human health as synthetic hormones have been linked to risks of cancer.
There has been growing research on the benefits of organic diets on children. It is true that pesticides are dangerous to all people, but they are more harmful to children as they are still developing organ systems. These systems are still vulnerable and cannot detoxify harmful chemical substances easily. Therefore, it is highly important that you shift to organic diets for your kids.
The bottom line, the organic principle is truly beneficial in every field you imagine. Go the extra mile and endorse organic agriculture if you are already in the business. If you are on the other side of the equation, then shop organic and reap the benefits.