What Actually Makes Food Organic?

Organic food is big business, more and more regularly we are seeing that shops and supermarkets are stocking up their shelves with food that is labelled as being organic. Whilst we may recognise the term organic, do we actually know what it means? The chances are, probably not. With this in mind we have put together this guide to what actually makes food organic, so you know what to look out for when trying to make organic choice for your diet.
What is the definition of organic food?
If you look up the definition of organic food within the DEFRA guidelines then you will find that it is seen to be an organic food that is a product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers and pesticides. It also does not feature growth regulators or livestock feed additives and the use of genetically modified organisms.
What about organic farming?
So, that is the definition of organic, but what does it actually equate to when you think about farming. Essentially, organic farming pays close attention to the natural world. The farms that are recognised as being organic will use a lower amount of chemicals on the land. They also have a high focus on animal welfare, whereby the animals are required to be kept in conditions that are natural and free.
Labelling foods as organic
It isn’t as straight forward as you may think for foods to be labelled as organic. However, it isn’t quite as easy as that. It is recognised that for a food to be labelled as organic then at least 95% of the ingredients within the food should be from plants or animals that have been organically produced.
In order to retain organic certification, a farm will need to pass regular inspections, which will look at whether the strict regulations and guidelines which relate to the production methods are being kept to.
Why organic food is better
Whilst it is becoming all the more popular for consumers to buy organic food, there is still some research going on to clarify and confirm whether or not organic food is better for us.
Of course, one of the main benefits to opting for organic food over non-organic food is that you know that the animals that have been farmed will have lived a much happier and fulfilling life then those who are more intensively farmed.
You will also know that the production of this particular food will have been kinder to the environment too. Something that should be increasingly important to us all.
How to buy organic food
One of the easiest ways to source organic food is to head to your supermarket of choice, however, this isn’t always the best approach to take. Organic food can be costly, and sometimes the cheapest way that you can buy it is from the farmer or producer directly.
You can buy these organic products from their farm shop, or perhaps from a stall if they are regular attendees at farmers markets. As well as this, a number of farms have put together an organic box scheme, which will deliver delicious fruit, veg, meats and other produce directly to your door, ready for you to eat.
One way that you can make sure that your food is truly organic, is to grow it yourself. Not sure where to start when it comes to fruit and veg? Worried that you might not be able to give them the right growing conditions? If this is true for you then we definitely recommend that you try out First Tunnels.
Providing you with the ideal space to grow your fruit and veg of choice, these are easy to use, easy to put up and will add something extra to your outdoor space. Best of all, they will help transform you from someone who isn’t too hot on your gardening, to a dab hand at all things green!
*This is a collaborative post

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