Healthy Living Magazine

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The great food debate continues…

What is Organic Food?

Organic food refers to the output from Organic Agriculture: a holistic production method that contributes to the enhancement of biodiversity, good soil health and ecological balance. Organic agriculture prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), irradiation, growth hormones, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives and is based on these seven guiding principles, as stated in the Canadian Organic Standards:

1. Protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health
2. Maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil;
3. Maintain biological diversity within the system;
4. Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise;
5. Provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock;
6. Prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing and handling methods in order to maintain organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production;
7. Rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems.

Organic Food in Canada

Organic food in Canada must meet all food regulations as well as additional organic standards and inspections. Canadian law requires all organic foods that cross interprovincial or international borders to be regulated under both the Food and Drug Regulations and the Organic Product Regulations, and are subject to enforcement by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Similarly, organic foods that are made and sold only within their province of origin are subject to federal truthful-labelling laws and may be subject to provincial organic regulations.
Having these rules in place to govern organic foods makes “organic” a trustworthy brand and allows consumers to shop with confidence.
What to Look For?

Organic foods can be found at health food stores, local farmers markets and grocery stores. There are a few key identifying factors that can help guide your purchasing decisions and ensure the foods you buy truly are organic.

The Canada Organic logo Foods with an organic content of 95% or more are the only products allowed to be labelled as “Organic” or to carry this logo. Furthermore, products carrying the logo must be certified through a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) approved third-party certification body and their name must appear on the product logo. 

You may also find products that indicate they contain a percentage of organic ingredients (70-95%) or which include organic items in the ingredient list.

Our closest trading partners are the United States and Europe, so you may also find these logos on your favourite grocery items, which have been assessed to be equivalent to Canada’s system.

organic-logousda-organiceurope-organic

The Benefits of Buying Organic Foods

When buying organic foods, you are not only investing in your health, but you are also supporting sustainable, environmentally friendly practices and animal welfare. There are a number of benefits to choosing organic:

• Know that your products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures and without persistent toxic chemical inputs;

• Made without the use of GMOs, artificial colours, preservatives and sweeteners;
• Protect and improve the environment and animal health;

• Help maintain a clean water supply, soil health and fertility;

• Reduce the carbon footprint and fight climate change (organic farming can use 30-50% less energy).

Article courtesy of the Canadian Health Food Association. For more information visit www.chfa.ca.

13 thoughts on “Going Organic: Is it worth it?

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