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IS ORGANIC FOOD JUST A FOOD FAD?

IS ORGANIC FOOD JUST A FOOD FAD?

Over a decade ago if someone would insist on consuming organic food we would have just ignored their advice and labelled them inapt. The organic movement has been around for some time now and organic products have been making their presence felt increasingly over the last few years and our perspective are also undergoing a transformation.

Because of a consistently advancing way of life, a developing fondness for quality, and the increasing incidence of lifestyle related ailments, customers are showing an enthusiasm for a preventive lifestyle as opposed to a therapeutic approach.

Opting for organic foods is an effectual choice for personal and planetary health. Organic foods are now making deep inroads into the diet of population, where there is a shift from butter cookies to fiber rich cookies, vegetable oil to heart healthy oil and from conventional foods to organic foods.

Eating organic isn’t a trend, it is a come back to our tradition

ORGANIC FOR GOOD HEALTH

We have to make a choice in choosing food that makes us feel well and avoiding those that do not. It is now imperative to review the nutritional benefits of organic food products. Studies show that organically grown food has higher amounts of Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and antioxidants which have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers. Data also shows that organic milk contains far more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.

“ORGANIC” IS NOT JUST ANOTHER DIET

Is ‘organic’ just another marketing trick or another fad diet?

Can we not relate consumption of organic food with a drop in size of our waistline?

Let us be clear on one aspect that “Organic” is not a diet. Consuming organic food, goes beyond being a mere fad.

With the context of going organic, one urges to decrease their food tainted with synthetic chemicals and natural toxins and their meat shot full of hormones or antibiotics.

Organic food is a healthy decision for every one of us yet particularly for infants. Because of their developing immune system, they are more vulnerable to harmful effects of toxins and chemicals in food.

LEAVING CHEMICALS OFF YOUR PLATE

Traditionally India was completely organic in its farming method, until we were taken over by the western influences. When there is a greater demand in the market for colourful, juicier and big tasty fruits and vegetables, the farmers are under pressure and they have to rely on using fertilizers to make his/her crop superior and bountiful and also food would need too much care and attention to be kept edible from farm to table for large scale production.

Chemical pesticides and herbicides have been linked to birth defects, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, and other health problems. Furthermore, the rate of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be 4 times higher in conventional crops than organic crops across region.

We cannot limit ourselves from exposing to the toxins in the environment. But we do have a say in what food we eat. Each time you choose organic products, you choose to leave chemicals off your plate.

ANYTHING GOOD ALWAYS COMES ALONG WITH A PRICETAG

A major obstacle to the purchase of organic foods was accounted due to the premium prices -Organic practices are costlier than conventional methods which include rigorous production standards, certification costs, and handling costs. The expense of conventional food is artificially lowered by production-oriented subsidies drawn from taxpayer money. Plus, government support for organic production is unequal to the support for conventional agriculture.

Price is not a limiting factor for organic purchases who recognize the benefits of organic, who are willing to pay a little more to know that they are giving their families the highest quality products. The love and care that goes into growing organic food are well worth the investment.

THE GOODNESS QUOTIENT

The willingness to adapt to organic food culture is a conscious choice, where it is beneficial to maintain long term effect on the sustainability of agro-ecosystem and biodiversity. Nevertheless, in reality, is this reason good enough to change our dietary habits to organic? Give it a thought!

AUTHENTICITY OF ORGANIC FOODS

‘Organic’ is a term utilized as often as possible without much thought, rather as an advertising trick. With the present rate of food products being advertised as organic, these regulations should be mandated on each organic product to ensure the genuineness of organic.

Organic foods will have to comply with the provisions under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) administered by the government or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) run by the Agriculture Ministry or any other standards notified by the food authority. As indicated by “India Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019”, the organic food market revenues in India are expected to grow at a CAGR of around 25% amid 2014-19.

UNDERSTANDING THE “Made with Organic***” Label

  • ‘100% Organic’: 100% of ingredients are organic, with 100% organic processing.
  • ‘Organic’: 95% or more of ingredients are organic, some chemical additives approved by USDA may be used in processing.
  • ‘Made with Organic Ingredients’: Raw or processed products containing between 70%-90% certified organic ingredients. The standard labelling statement and cannot be used outside the ingredients panel on the label.
  • ‘Multi-ingredient products with below 70% organic ingredients’: Raw or processed products containing below 70% certified organic ingredients may only contain indications that an ingredient is organic on the ingredient list, but cannot be labelled ‘organic’.

Now we have a plethora of organic product choices in India. Organic foods extend beyond fruits, vegetables, and animal products. We now find a range of organic baby foods, organic staples, organic breakfast cereals, organic soups and many more. All of these options have become popular for a few reasons. There is the health and environment aspect of it along with the improved flavour. This creates a flavour that you simply cannot get with non-organic options.

 

-VISMITHA YESHWANTH
Nutritionist

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