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Archive for the ‘Organic Food’ Category

Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools …

Posted: October 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm

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Compiled by:Mary V. GoldAlternative Farming Systems Information CenterNational Agricultural LibraryU.S. Department of AgricultureAsk a Question

June 2007. Reviewed April 2016

What is Organic Production?What are organic production systems and practices?Where are the best organic production research and information sources?How can I find organic production people and organizations?Where can I explore educational and career opportunities?Who will fund my organic farming or food research project?Where can I find organic-related conferences and workshops?

USDA Definition and Regulations:

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), enacted under Title 21 of the 1990 Farm Bill, served to establish uniform national standards for the production and handling of foods labeled as organic. The Act authorized a new USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to set national standards for the production, handling, and processing of organically grown agricultural products. In addition, the Program oversees mandatory certification of organic production. The Act also established the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) which advises the Secretary of Agriculture in setting the standards upon which the NOP is based. Producers who meet standards set by the NOP may label their products as USDA Certified Organic.

The final national organic standards rule was published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2000. The law was activated April 21, 2001. The rule, along with detailed fact sheets and other background information, is available on the National Organic Program's website,

Full regulatory text: Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR):

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Organic farming entails:

Transitioning to Organic Production. USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), 2006.

Organic Principles. There are several compelling principles that characterize certified organic farming. They include biodiversity, integration, sustainability, natural plant nutrition, natural pest management, and integrity. Most organic operations will reflect all of these to a greater or lesser degree. Since each farm is a distinct entity, there is a large degree of variation. Organic Crop Production Overview, by George Kuepper and Lance Gegner. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Organic production is not simply the avoidance of conventional chemical inputs, nor is it the substitution of natural inputs for synthetic ones. Organic farmers apply techniques first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and the use of composted animal manures and green manure crops, in ways that are economically sustainable in today's world. In organic production, overall system health is emphasized, and the interaction of management practices is the primary concern. Organic producers implement a wide range of strategies to develop and maintain biological diversity and replenish soil fertility.Organic Agriculture Overview, USDA, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), 2007.

Learn more:

Definition of Organic Agriculture Report to the Task Force International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), 2006.

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Databases: AFSIC's Guide to Searchable Sites and Databases,, guides you to information and links for:

Statistics about Organic Farming and Organic Markets/Marketing: Selected Resources USDA, NAL, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, 2006.

Organic Roots USDA, NAL, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, 2004.Search Organic Agriculture Information Access (Organic Roots), an electronic collection of historic USDA publications related to organic agriculture. Contains almost 200 documents published before 1942 (before synthetic chemicals became widely used) that contain data that are still very pertinent for today's agriculture.

Organic Agriculture USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS)


Project Reports: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) USDA, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), SARE

Agricultural System Competitiveness and Sustainable Program NP #216 USDA, Agricultural Research Service

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)

International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR)

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Sustainable Agriculture Organizations and Information Providers USDA, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, revised 2015.U.S. national and regional groups involved in research, outreach, advocacy and production expertise.

USDA Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), National Organic Program

All Organic Links: Associations and Organizations All Organic Links.com

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Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture, Compiled by Becky ThompsonUSDA, NAL, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.Directory of degrees, curricula, research programs, school farms, and distance learning at U.S. academic institutions and non-profit organizations.

Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.Directory of farms seeking interns/apprentices from North America.

Courses and Curricula Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)Educational tools from SARE for those who work with farmers and ranchers.

Sustainable Agriculture Resources & Programs for K-12 Youth Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), 2015

The Organic University (OU) Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

SANET-MG. Sustainable Agriculture Network.Job opportunities are often listed with the Sustainable Agriculture Network's e-mail discussion group, SANET-MG. SANET-MG migrated to Google Groups in November, 2015. Archives prior to November 1, 2015 may be unavailable.

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Sustainable Agriculture Research Funding ResourcesUSDA, NAL, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, revised 2011. Links updated 2015.This fact sheet lists U.S. government and non-government entities that provide funding for research activities related to sustainable agriculture including organic farming and food, integrated pest management, water quality issues related to agriculture, rural community and small farm topics, alternative and value-added marketing practices, and more.

Federal Resources for Sustainable Farming and Ranching ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, Updated November 2014This publication offers an overview of the major federal conservation programs that provide resources for farmers and ranchers to enhance and maintain sustainable farming and ranching practices.

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Calendars: Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Farming, Alternative/Specialty Crops and Livestock USDA, NAL, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center. Reviewed April 2016.

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Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools ...

Written by admin

October 9th, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Organic Agriculture: Why is organic food more expensive …

Posted: March 23, 2018 at 8:46 pm

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Why is organic food more expensive than conventional food?

Certified organic food. Certified organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts (for which prices have been declining) for a number of reasons:

As demand for organic food and products is increasing, technological innovations and economies of scale should reduce costs of production, processing, distribution and marketing for organic produce.

Prices of organic foods include not only the cost of the food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in the price of conventional food, such as:

Non-certified organic food. In many developing countries, there are agricultural systems that fully meet the requirements of organic agriculture but which are not certified. Non-certified organic agriculture refers to organic agricultural practices by intent and not by default; this excludes non-sustainable systems which do not use synthetic inputs but which degrade soils due to lack of soil building practices. It is difficult to quantify the extent of these agricultural systems as they exist outside the certification and formal market systems. The produce of these systems is usually consumed by households or sold locally (e.g. urban and village markets) at the same price as their conventional counterparts. Although the uncertified produce does not benefit from price premiums, some cases have been documented where non-certified organic agriculture increases productivity of the total farm agro-ecosystem, and saves on purchasing external inputs. In developed countries, non-certified organic food is often sold directly to consumers through local community support programmes such as box schemes, farmers markets and at the farm gate. These allow the producer to know exactly what the consumer wants, while the consumer knows where the produce comes from and in the case of box schemes, saves on transport costs through delivery of produce to their homes. In developed countries, non-certified organic produce usually carries a higher price than its conventional counterpart, in accordance with the specific consumer willingness to pay.


Organic Agriculture: Why is organic food more expensive ...

Written by grays

March 23rd, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Is Your Organic Food A Fraud? – Organic Authority

Posted: February 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm

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Organically grown foods can beand often are mixed with non-organic ingredients, genetically modified organisms and artificial ingredients despite boasting organic labels. Organic fruits and vegetables can comingle with conventionally raised produce, be exposed to pesticides and other contaminants in shipping, storage and on display at your local supermarket. And sometimes, products labeled organic arent even organic at all, like the recent case of an Oregon man sentenced to more than two years in prison for selling conventionally raised corn as organic.

Beyond the health, environmental and flavor benefits in growing organic food, theres the enticing higher sticker price for farmers, distributors and retailers. Just ask any farmer who made the switch from conventional to certified organic how much more theyre making with premium organic crops. Money certainly tempted Harold Chase, 55, of Eugene, OR who appeared to double his profits by selling more than 4.2 million pounds of non-organic corn as certified organic.

In 2009, Target was accused of falsely advertising soymilk as organic when it was not. The retail giant faced a similar situation just two years earlier when the USDA considered pulling the organic certification from Targets main organic dairy supplierand the nations largestAurora Dairy (supplier for Horizon), for selling non-organic milk marketed as organic for more than four years. Horizon had once been considered a leader in the organic food movement.

How does this happen?

Regulations, especially in livestock conditions, were loosely defined when the National Organic Program was implemented in 2002. While stricter rules exist now for meat, egg and dairy farms claiming to be organic, unresolved issues about ethical treatment still remain a contentious point in defining organic animal products.

The USDA organic labeling system has several levels of organic certification. You may recognize the USDA seal on the front of 100 percent certified organic products. But they also allow the word organic on products that contain only 70 percent organic ingredients. A bag of corn chips, for example, could say something like made with organic corn, but could contain no other organic ingredients (and could also contain genetically modified canola or soybean oil). So make sure you read your labels and ingredient panels on any processed foods.

100 percent certified organic means just that. But the USDA defines organic as meaning at least 95 percent of the product is organic, and therefore can also contain ingredients like natural flavoring which canand often doesinclude MSG (monosodium glutamate), known for severe side effects including headaches and tinnitus. Because MSG naturally occurs in autolyzed yeast extract, it is considered a natural product. So is carrageenan, a seaweed substance known to cause adverse reactions like digestive disturbances. Other products that may or may not be labeled as more than just natural flavors include enzymes, gums and yeasts.

China is a major exporter of organic products from canned tomatoes to milk to dried fruit and tea. But their certifying program varies greatly from our own, and banned toxic pesticides and other chemicals have shown up in organic foods on several occasions. Just recently, Chinese officials announced that they will take extra measures to stop illegal fraudulent activities including misuse of certifications and counterfeit organic products.

Supermarkets are loaded with fruits and vegetables labeled organic. But field-testing to ensure compliance with organic standards is a rarity in the U.S. Organic produce fetches a higher sticker price, so it is highly appealing to both farmers and supermarkets, making us all victims of organic fraud likely at some point or another. Supermarkets that arent certified organic can often co-mingle organic and conventional produce leading to residual pesticide contamination, even though theyre not supposed to share storage or display units. Visiting and supporting a local farmer, either at a farmers market or through a CSA, greatly improves your chances of getting truly organic items.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger


Image: Yogue_style

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.

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Is Your Organic Food A Fraud? - Organic Authority

Written by admin

February 5th, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Organic Food

More Reasons Why You Need to Eat Organic –

Posted: January 6, 2018 at 12:43 pm

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By Dr. Mercola

While the controversy over whether organically grown food is healthier lingers, scientific research continues to demonstrate the health benefits to both humans and the environment of growing and consuming organic foods.

Food grown in healthier soil, with natural fertilizers and no harmful chemicals, is quite simply more nutritious and less dangerous to your health.

Detractors of organic farming rest on a meta-analysis published in 2012 by Stanford University, which found similar nutrients in both organically growth produce and those laden with pesticides and insecticides.1

That same study did admit organic foods were not burdened with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pesticide residue, but stated these were the only benefits.

More recent analyses of organic foods also found similar levels of nutrients between organic and pesticide-treated crops,2 with lower pesticide residue on organic foods.3 However, the more recent studies also found lower levels of cadmium,4 a known carcinogen, and higher levels of antioxidants.5

Organic fruits and vegetables may contain as much as 18 percent to 69 percent more antioxidants than pesticide-treated produce. As antioxidants play a critical role in the prevention of diseases and illnesses, these higher levels of nutrients, in combination with a lower toxicity level, make organically grown foods a superior choice.

One of the strongest selling points for eating organic foods had been to reduce your exposure to pesticides and insecticides. Now, a recent study demonstrates that organic foods hold more benefits to your future health and the health of your children.

The study conducted by the European Parliamentary Research Service reviewed existing research and made several determinations.6

From their analysis they concluded that eating organic foods reduces pesticide exposure, improves the nutritional value of the food, lessens disease risk and improves early childhood development.7

They also found those who ate organic foods tended to have healthier dietary patterns than those who ate foods treated with chemicals.

In other studies, researchers found epidemiological data demonstrating the negative effects of pesticide exposure on the cognitive development of children and determined these effects would be minimized eating organic foods, especially during pregnancy and during early infancy.

Another important finding, also supported by previous studies,8 was organic foods had lower cadmium content than conventional crops.9 There is no safe level of cadmium, as it is a known carcinogen and produces a number of negative effects on human health.

Your highest rate of exposure is from plant-based foods grown in contaminated soil or using certain fertilizers. Other sources include smoking and exposure to nickel-cadmium batteries.10

Once absorbed, your body efficiently retains cadmium, which can build up over your lifetime unless you take steps to remove it.11,12 Being deficient in calcium, iron, protein and/or zinc may worsen cadmium uptake and toxicity.

Antagonists that can help detoxify cadmium include calcium, zinc, copper, vitamin D and C, iron, manganese and protein.13

Cadmium is very toxic to your kidneys, may trigger bone demineralization and increases your risk of dying from lung cancer. It can also affect your blood pressure, prostate health and testosterone levels.14

Organically raised animals also reduce your exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria as the organic practice of preventing animal disease restricts the use of antibiotics in production. Minimizing your exposure to these bacteria may minimize your risk of illness and may have significant public health benefits.

Researchers have determined the levels of polyphenols in organically grown crops is significantly higher than those sprayed with pesticides.15 These higher concentrations of phenolic acids, flavones, stilbenes, flavonols and anthocyanins were estimated to be between 19 percent and 51 percent higher in one study.

These plant-based antioxidant compounds have been linked to the reduction in a number of different diseases, including cardiovascular disease,16,17 neurodegenerative conditions,18 cancers19,20 and slowing the aging process.21

Antioxidants are a class of molecule that are capable of inhibiting the oxidation of free radicals that cause damage in your body.

Some antioxidants can be produced by your body, but some are not and, as you age, your ability to produce those antioxidants declines. Antioxidants are crucial to your health and can be acquired through eating real foods. They are nature's way of defending your body against an attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Your body naturally circulates a variety of nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenes and lipoic acid, to control the destructive chain reactions associated with ROS. Antioxidants are micronutrients that help your body resist the damage of pollutants and free radicals produced during metabolism.

Oxidative stress occurs when there are more free radicals and ROS in your body than antioxidant defenses, and leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage. Oxidative stress may also shorten the length of your telomeres, which researchers believe can be used as a measure of biological aging.

Antioxidants are present in higher quantities in fruits and vegetables that are organically grown and those eaten closer to the time they were harvested. This is why eating the majority of your fruits and vegetables raw, organically grown and locally harvested increases the number of nutrients from which you benefit.

Researchers have also linked eating foods organically grown to even more health benefits, including a reduction in obesity and type 2 diabetes, two of the more common health concerns facing people today.22

More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese,23 one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes that affects over 9 percent of the American population.24

Research has also linked an increase in allergic reactions to foods coated with pesticides in people who have not otherwise experienced food allergies.25 Exposure to specific weed-killing chemicals are associated with higher sensitivity to foods.26

Dichlorophenols, chemicals used for pesticides and to chlorinate tap water, may also be to blame for the rising number of children suffering from allergies.27

Demand for organic foods is rapidly expanding. This demand is not limited to real foods, but also prepackaged and processed foods. In 2014, people around the world spent $72 billion on organic products.28

The largest organic market located in the U.S. recorded an 11.5 percent increase in 2015. Some make the decision to buy organic based on a concern for the environment, while others are focused on their personal long-term health benefits.

This continued growth provides incentive for U.S. farmers to enter the market. Organic foods are sold through direct-to-consumer sales, conventional groceries and natural health food stores.

Produce accounted for 43 percent of organic food sales in 201229 with 93 percent of all sales taking place through conventional and natural food stores.

Although organic foods are more accessible, there continues to be challenges in the supply chain. Organic food sales may have enjoyed greater growth had the supply been available.30

Securing a supply chain that supports demand includes ensuring more organic acreage and helping farmers transition from conventional produce farming to organic.

As more consumers become interested in eating a healthier diet and more willing to pay for higher-quality foods, smaller markets are carving out a niche in the marketplace.

It is anticipated that the growth of the organic food market will reach $1 trillion in 2017.31 This increase in sales is helping successfully launch small companies providing products to meet consumer demand.

Angel investors and venture capitalists are also taking advantage, investing more than $2 billion in 2015.32 Despite the growth in organic sales, the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. are finding it challenging to keep pace with the demand. As fewer than 1 percent of American farms were certified organic in 2012, the availability for growth in this field is wide open.33

Foreign suppliers provided $134 million in organic soybeans in 2014, prompting U.S. Congress to expand their support for organic farming and double their funds for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program.34

A recent report found 17 of the top 20 grocer retailers are not meeting the increased consumer demand for organic, pesticide-free foods.35 The same report also revealed food retailers don't publish a publicly available policy to reduce or eliminate pesticides that impact the growth of pollinators, the largest group of which are bees.

For food to carry the certified "organic" label, it must meet several federal guidelines.36 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as:37

" [P]roduced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

Before a product can be labeled 'organic,' a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too."

Without certification, products are not allowed to display the USDA organic seal.38 However, a certified organic product may contain a mix of conventionally grown and organic ingredients depending upon the labeling.39 This mix of pesticide-laden ingredients with organically grown ones may negate many of the benefits of eating organic foods. The easiest answer is to avoid processed fare, and cook from scratch, so you know exactly what you're eating.

One of the benefits to the environment from organic farming and the reduction in pesticide use is the impact on the bee population, pollinators necessary to the growth of crops and plants. Tiffany Finck-Haynes, from Friends of the Earth, and lead author of the paper studying top retailers and organic foods, commented:40

"Without bees and other pollinators, our supermarket shelves would be pretty bare and empty. And they're an indicator species, so they're really telling us that their decline is most likely resulting in a larger decline that we're seeing for the rest of the species in our ecosystem."

This video demonstrates sustainable agriculture techniques used on the Allison Farm in Illinois. Another benefit to the environment is soil biodiversity, or the species, genes and entire communities of life that exists within the soil. If you think these tiny creatures aren't important to your health, the nutrient value of the food grown in the soil and to your children's future health, think again. Here are a few fun facts about soil:41

A meta-analysis of over 250 studies found that organic farming increased species richness in the soil by 30 percent, and this number has been consistent over the past 30 years of study.42 In fields that were intensely farmed, organic farming had a greater effect on the biodiversity of the land. This analysis of research confirmed that organic farming has a positive effect on biodiversity compared to conventional farming.

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More Reasons Why You Need to Eat Organic -

Written by simmons

January 6th, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Organic Food

What is the Definition of Organic Food? : Healthy Holistic …

Posted: November 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

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So when you hear the term organic food, what does it really mean? Is there one simple definition of organic food?

Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards. For crops, it means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives. For animals, it means they were reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified.

Now that you have a simple definition of organic food why should you make organic foods apart of your diet?

Good Question, there are two clear reasons to go organic:

Well first it just plaintastes better.Organically grown foods have basic standards some of which are is keeping soil healthy and fortifying it naturally, not with synthetic fertilizers. Healthy, fortified soil means healthy, strong plants, which translates to better-tasting food.

Secondly, organically grown foods havemore nutrients.Healthy soil of organic farmland also provides more nutrients for growing plants. Studies are showing they have more vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and iron.

One of the biggest studies into organic food has found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen peoples lives.

The study found that organic fruit and vegetables contained as much as 40% more antioxidants, which scientists believe can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. They also had higher levels of beneficial minerals such as iron and zinc.

Professor Carlo Leifert, the co-ordinator of the European Union-funded project, said the differences were so marked that organic produce would help to increase the nutrient intake of people not eating the recommended five portions a day of fruit and vegetables. If you have just 20% more antioxidants and you cant get your kids to do five a day, then you might just be okay with four a day, he said.

Leifert said the government was wrong about there being no difference between organic and conventional produce. There is enough evidence now that the level of good things is higher in organics, he said.

Organic foods are essentially free of pesticides, while nearly every type of conventional fruit and vegetable has at least one type of pesticide applied to it sometime from when the seeds are put into the ground to when they are sold. Logically then, eating organic foods rather than conventional foods will reduce your familys exposure to pesticides. And for me that is enough to make organic foods apart of my familys diet.

If you enjoyed this article, Definition of Organic Food you might like to learn more about specific foods that you should buy organic read my articleIs Organic Worth It?

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What is the Definition of Organic Food? : Healthy Holistic ...

Written by grays

November 19th, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You –

Posted: November 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

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A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011. AP hide caption

A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011.

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

"There's a definite lack of evidence," says researcher Crystal Smith-Spangler at Stanford University School of Medicine, especially when it comes to studies of people.

She and her colleagues collected 200 peer-reviewed studies that examined differences between organic and conventional food, or the people who eat it.

A few of these studies followed people who were eating either organic or conventional food and looked for evidence that the choice made a difference in their health.

One study, for instance, looked at whether eating organic food while pregnant would influence the likelihood of eczema and other allergic conditions among children, and another looked at whether eating organic meat would influence the risk of a Campylobacter infection, a bacterial food-borne illness. When the researchers looked at the body of evidence, they found no clear benefits. But they say more research is needed.

It's important to note, though, that such studies have a really hard time uncovering subtle effects of our environment, or what we eat, on our health. Too many other powerful influences get in the way. Also, these studies only followed people for a very short time about two years or less. That's hardly enough time to document any particular health benefit.

Most of the studies included in this collection looked at the food itself the nutrients that it contained as well as levels of pesticide residues or harmful bacteria.

As you might expect, there was less pesticide contamination on organic produce. But does that matter? The authors of the new study say probably not. They found that the vast majority of conventionally grown food did not exceed allowable limits of pesticide residue set by federal regulations.

Some previous studies have looked at specific organic foods and found that they contain higher levels of important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. We've reported on one particularly ambitious experiment, which is supposed to go on for a hundred years, comparing plots of organic and conventional tomatoes. After 10 years, the researchers found that tomatoes raised in the organic plots contained significantly higher levels of certain antioxidant compounds.

But this is one study of one vegetable in one field. And when the Stanford researchers looked at their broad array of studies, which included lots of different crops in different situations, they found no such broad pattern.

Here's the basic reason: When it comes to their nutritional quality, vegetables vary enormously, and that's true whether they are organic or conventional. One carrot in the grocery store, for instance, may have two or three times more beta carotene (which gives us vitamin A) than its neighbor. That's due to all kinds of things: differences in the genetic makeup of different varieties, the ripeness of the produce when it was picked, even the weather.

So there really are vegetables that are more nutritious than others, but the dividing line between them isn't whether or not they are organic. "You can't use organic as your sole criteria for judging nutritional quality," says Smith-Spangler.

Of course, people may have other reasons for buying organic food. It's a different style of agriculture. Organic farmers often control pests by growing a greater variety of crops. They increase the fertility of their fields through nitrogen-fixing plants, or by adding compost instead of applying synthetic fertilizer.

That can bring environmental benefits, such as more diverse insect life in the field or less fertilizer runoff into neighboring streams. But such methods also cost money. That's part of what you are buying when you buy organic.

So if you really want to find the most nutritious vegetables, and the organic label won't take you there, what will?

At the moment, unfortunately, there isn't a good guide. But a lot of scientists are working on it.

They're measuring nutrient levels in all kinds of crops, and discovering some surprising things, as The Salt reported last week such as supernutritious microgreens. They're trying to breed new varieties of crops that yield not a bigger harvest but a more nutrient-rich harvest.

The problem is, farmers still get paid by the pound, not by the vitamin. And consumers buy their food the same way. What this really requires is a whole new food system that can track those extra-nutritious crops from farmer's field to consumer's shopping basket.

Maybe, down the road, you will actually see signs in the supermarket that advertise, for instance, iron-rich beans. Maybe they'd be organic, or maybe not.

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Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You -

Written by grays

November 17th, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Organic Food

Is Organic Food Better for You? –

Posted: October 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm

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You're trying to eat healthy, and you know that means choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. But as you wander the aisles of your local market, checking out the fresh produce, meats, and dairy products, you realize there's another choice to make: Should you buy organic?

Advocates say organic food is safer, possibly more nutritious, and often better tasting than non-organic food. They also say organic production is better for the environment and kinder to animals.

And more and more shoppers seem convinced. Even though organic food typically costs more --sometimes a lot more -- sales are steadily increasing.

"We've had a strong 20%-a-year growth rate since 1990," says Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). She also says more land is going into organic production all the time -- up to 2.35 million acres in 48 states as of 2001.

But many experts say there's not enough evidence to prove any real advantage to eating organic foods.

"There's really very limited information in people on actual health outcomes with consumption of these products," says David Klurfeld, PhD, chairman of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. "We don't know enough to say that one is better than the other."

So before you decide whether organic food is worth the price of admission, let's take a look at the issues.

Before October 2002, states followed varying rules for certifying and labeling organic products. But now all organic foods are grown and processed according to strict national standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To meet these standards, organic crops must be produced without conventional pesticides (including herbicides), synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Organically raised animals must be given organic feed and kept free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors, including pastureland for grazing.

If a food has a "USDA organic" label, it contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients, and a government-approved expert has inspected the farm where it was produced to make sure the farmer follows USDA requirements.

"Before the standards went into effect, you never knew what you were getting," says Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, director of nutrition for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. "My comment to people always used to be, 'Buyer beware,' so I'm thrilled that now we as consumers can be confident that when we buy something organic, it really does adhere to certain established standards."

"If you're talking about pesticides, the evidence is pretty conclusive. Your chances of getting pesticide residues are much less with organic food," says John Reganold, professor of soil science at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.

Reganold points to a large-scale study done by the Consumers Union. Researchers looked at data from more than 94,000 food samples and 20 different crops. They found that organically grown crops consistently had about one-third as many pesticide residues as the conventionally grown versions. Organic foods also were far less likely to contain residues of more than one pesticide.

Even so, the amount of man-made pesticide residues found in conventional foods is still well below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed unsafe. The real issue is whether these small doses, over years and decades, might add up to an increased health risk down the line.

"Is it going to make a difference? I don't know," says Reganold. "But it's something to think about, and we're the guinea pigs."

Man-made pesticides aren't the only threats to food safety. There is also the question of natural toxins produced by the plants themselves. In this arena, conventional foods may actually have the advantage.

Because organic production steers clear of synthetic insecticides and herbicides, organic crops usually contend with more pests and weeds than conventional crops. This means the organic plants may produce more natural toxins.

"Plants can't get up and walk away. If they're being attacked, they've got to sit there and take it. So they may resort to their own chemical warfare," explains Carl Winter, director of the FoodSafe program and an extension food toxicologist at the University of California, Davis.

These natural pesticides could be just as harmful to people -- or even more so -- than the synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture. One familiar example is solanine, a substance produced by potatoes as they turn green, which can make you ill if you ingest too much of it.

Another safety concern that has been raised about organic food is the issue of manure fertilizers. Some critics fear that using manure to fertilize organic crops might increase the risk of contamination by dangerous microbes like E. coli.

"The organic farmers talk about the soil being more alive on organic farms than conventional farms. That life isn't just insects and worms; it's loaded with bacteria," says Klurfeld.

But organic production standards do include strict rules on the composting and application of manure. And there's little evidence that organic food has bacterial contamination more often than conventional food.

"The organic system is the only one with agricultural standards that prohibit the use of raw manure within a certain time frame between harvests of crops for human consumption," says the Organic Trade Association's DiMatteo. She adds that bacterial contamination usually happens because of improper handling after the food has left the farm, and conventional food is just as likely to be affected.

Whether the issue is bad bacteria or pesticide residues, experts agree that the best way to safeguard yourself is to thoroughly rinse allfruits and vegetables under running water. You should even wash items with inedible skins, like melons and citrus fruits, because cutting the rind with a knife can bring contaminants to the inside.

Right now, no one can say for sure whether organic food is any more nutritious than conventional food. A few studies have reported that organic produce has higher levels of vitamin C, certain minerals, and antioxidants -- thought to protect the body against aging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But the differences are so small that they probably have no impact on overall nutrition.

"So far nothing is definitive, but there really hasn't been a lot of money expended on looking at the nutritional benefits of organic products," says DiMatteo. She points out that studies done before the USDA national standard went into effect are likely to be invalid, as there were then no reliable controls on organic production methods.

There is one nutritional certainty, though. If you want to get the most from your food, eat it while it's fresh.

"Nutrients like vitamin C do oxidize over time. So even though the nutrients might be higher in organic food to begin with, if it's sitting in your refrigerator, you could lose that benefit," says Zelman.

Plus, fresh food just tastes better. This may be one reason people sometimes report that organic foods have more flavor. Because organic farms tend to be smaller operations, they often sell their products closer to the point of harvest. So don't be surprised if the organic fruits and vegetables in your market taste more "farm fresh" than the comparable conventional produce.

Whether or not organic food really is safer or more nutritious, advocates say there is one more compelling reason to go organic: The health of the environment and society as a whole.

"Toxic and persistent pesticides do accumulate. They accumulate in the soil; they accumulate in the water; they accumulate in our bodies," says DiMatteo. "So by eliminating the use of these pesticides and fertilizers in the organic production system, we are not contributing any further to this pollution."

But food experts caution that while the big picture is important, you must make the decision that makes the most sense for you. If you can manage the higher price, and you like the idea of fewer pesticides and a more environmentally friendly production system, organic food may be for you. But don't skimp on healthy conventional foods just because you think you need to save your pennies for the few organic items that you can afford.

"The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and grains. And eat variety. From my perspective, it doesn't matter whether they are organic or conventional," Winter says.

If you like the idea of organic foods but aren't ready to go completely organic, you can always pick and choose. Depending on your own needs and goals, here are a few items you might want to put on your list.

If you are most interested in reducing pesticides in your food, buy organic versions of foods whose conventional forms may carry high levels of pesticide residues. These include:


Green peas

Green beans

Green onions (scallions)

Summer and winter squash







If you're most interested in promoting the growth of organic farming, buy organic foods that require large expanses of cropland and pasture, such as:



Other grains

Dairy foods and beef

If you're interested in more natural conditions for farm animals and fewer antibiotics and hormones, buy products from organically raised livestock and poultry, such as:






WebMD Feature

SOURCES: Food Additives and Contaminants,May 2002. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2003; vol 51(5);2002; vol 50(19). Agricultural Outlook, November 2002.Katherine DiMatteo, executive director, Organic Trade Association, Greenfield,Mass. David M. Klurfeld, PhD, professor and chairman, department of nutritionand food science, Wayne State University, Detroit. Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD,WebMD Weight Loss Clinic director of nutrition. John Reganold, PhD, professor,department of crop and soil sciences, Washington State University, Pullman,Wash. Carl K. Winter, PhD, director, FoodSafe Program; extension foodtoxicologist, department of food science and technology, University ofCalifornia, Davis. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service. Council forBiotechnology Information. Organic Trade Association.Consumers Union. Environmental Working Group.

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October 15th, 2017 at 6:02 pm

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Organic Food –

Posted: October 13, 2017 at 12:57 am

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Libby Mills, RDN, spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Carl Winter, PhD, extension food toxicologist; vice chair, food science and technology, University of California, Davis.

United States Department of Agriculture: Changes in Retail Organic Price Premiums from 2004 to 2010.

United States Department of Agriculture: Organic Production and Handling Standards.

Trewavas, A. Crop Protection, September 2004.

Environmental Protection Agency: Pesticides and Food.

United States Department of Agriculture: Organic Labeling Standards, Organic Agriculture, "Organic Market Overview, Labeling Organic Product.

Environmental Working Group: EWGs Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, FDA Bans Three Toxic Chemicals.

Winter, C. Journal of Toxicology, May 2011.

North Carolina State University: Strawberry Disease and Their Control.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station: Removal of Trace Residues from Produce.

Krol, W. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 2000.

National Potato Commission: US Per Capita Utilization of Potatoes.

Srednicka-Tober, D. British Journal of Nutrition, March 2016.

American Cancer Society: Teflon and PFOA.

Crop Protection: A critical assessment of organic farming-and-food assertions with particular respect to the UK and the potential benefits of no-till agriculture.

Journal of Agromedicine: Pesticide/Environmental Exposures and Parkinsons Disease in East Texas.

PLOS: Choosing Organic Pesticides over Synthetic Pesticides May Not Effectively Mitigate Environmental Risk in Soybeans

Colorado State University: Pesticides: Natural Isnt Always Best.

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organic food – Soil Association

Posted: October 7, 2017 at 2:46 pm

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Why does organic cost more?

While organic food is sometimes more expensive than non-organic, there are ways to keep costs down. In an ideal world, organic wouldnt need to be more expensive. A big part of the problem is that the true cost of our food isnt reflected in the price, both the positives and the negatives. So food that is produced in ways that may contaminate our water, or lead to antibiotic resistance in people, may seem cheap in the store, but the real cost can be very high indeed.

Where there is a price difference, you are paying for the special care organic farmers place on protecting the environment andimproving animal welfare.As the costs of farming with oil-based fertilisers and chemicals increase, the price gap between organic and non-organic is closing.

Going organic is easier than youd think. Food, health, beauty and textile products that hold the Soil Association organic symbol have been produced to the highest possible animal welfare and environmental standards. Look for the logo!

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organic food - Soil Association

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October 7th, 2017 at 2:46 pm

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Organic Food Federation | Food Federation

Posted: September 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm

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The Organic Food Federation

The Organic Food Federation is at the forefront of promoting organic methods and maintaining high standards and best practice within the sector.New exciting opportunities for the UKs organic producers, processors, traders and importers have been created due to the rising demand for organic products.

If you are involved in any way with the production, processing, warehousing / storage, trading or importing of organic produce we can help. Our services will enable you to achieve official organic certification status for your product, safe in the knowledge that our dedicated team will guide you through the process.

This site is full of information including an introduction to our service, benefits of registration and a great download centre where useful free guidance is available.When you have finished browsing these pages, if you require further assistance, please call us and we will be happy to help.

31 Turbine Way, Eco Tech Business Park, Swaffham, Norfolk, United Kingdom, PE37 7XD Tel +44(0)1760 720444 Fax +44(0)1760 720790

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Organic Food Federation | Food Federation

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