Organic food – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: October 1, 2014 at 7:54 am


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Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening.

While the organic standard is defined differently in different jurisdictions, in general organic farming responds to site-specific farming and crop conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed, although certain organically approved pesticides may be used under limited conditions. In general, organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.[1]

While there may be some differences in the amounts of nutrients and anti-nutrients when organically produced food and conventionally produced food are compared, the variable nature of food production and handling makes it difficult to generalize results, and there is insufficient evidence to make claims that organic food is safer or healthier than conventional food.[2][3][4][5][6] Claims that organic food tastes better are generally not supported by evidence.[3][7]

For the vast majority of its history, agriculture can be described as having been organic; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new chemicals introduced to the food supply.[8] The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.[9]

In 1939, Lord Northbourne coined the term organic farming in his book Look to the Land (1940), out of his conception of "the farm as organism," to describe a holistic, ecologically balanced approach to farmingin contrast to what he called chemical farming, which relied on "imported fertility" and "cannot be self-sufficient nor an organic whole."[10] Early soil scientists also described the differences in soil composition when animal manures were used as "organic", because they contain carbon compounds where superphosphates and haber process nitrogen do not. Their respective use effects humus content of soil.[11][12] This is different from the scientific use of the term "organic" in chemistry, which refers to a class of molecules that contain carbon, especially those involved in the chemistry of life. This class of molecules includes everything likely to be considered edible, and include most pesticides and toxins too, therefore the term "organic" and, especially, the term "inorganic" (sometimes wrongly used as a contrast by the popular press) as they apply to organic chemistry is an equivocation fallacy when applied to farming, the production of food, and to foodstuffs themselves. Properly used in this agricultural science context, "organic" refers to the methods grown and processed, not necessarily the chemical composition of the food.

Ideas that organic food could be healthier and better for the environment originated in the early days of the organic movement as a result of publications like the 1943 book, The Living Soil.[13][14] Gardening and Farming for Health or Disease,[15]

Early consumers interested in organic food would look for non-chemically treated, non-use of unapproved pesticides, fresh or minimally processed food. They mostly had to buy directly from growers. Later, "Know your farmer, know your food" became the motto of a new initiative instituted by the USDA in September 2009.[16] Personal definitions of what constituted "organic" were developed through firsthand experience: by talking to farmers, seeing farm conditions, and farming activities. Small farms grew vegetables (and raised livestock) using organic farming practices, with or without certification, and the individual consumer monitored.[citation needed]

Small specialty health food stores and co-operatives were instrumental to bringing organic food to a wider audience.[citation needed] As demand for organic foods continued to increase, high volume sales through mass outlets such as supermarkets rapidly replaced the direct farmer connection.[citation needed] Today there is no limit to organic farm sizes and many large corporate farms currently have an organic division. However, for supermarket consumers, food production is not easily observable, and product labeling, like "certified organic", is relied on. Government regulations and third-party inspectors are looked to for assurance.[citation needed]

In the 1970s, interest in organic food grew with the publication of Silent spring[17] and the rise of the environmental movement, and was also spurred by food-related health scares like the concerns about Alar that arose in the mid-1980s. [18]

Organic food production is a self-regulated industry with government oversight in some countries, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification based on government-defined standards in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, foods marketed as organic are produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organic industry trade organizations.

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Organic food - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Written by simmons |

October 1st, 2014 at 7:54 am

Posted in Organic Food