All About Organic

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The term Organic food/Organic Farming was first coined in 1940 in Lord Northbourne’s “book Look to the Land” ,which according to him meant "the farm as organism," to describe a holistic, ecologically balanced approach to farming.

Agriculture/Farming has largely been Organic for vast majority of its history. In 1940, with industrialization of Agriculture the use of pesticides and chemically treated fertilizers grew. To combat the excessive use of these chemicals and to save the depletion of land Organic Farming Movement arose.

With growing demand for Organic food later in the century the government laid down standards for Organic farming and started regulating organic productions.

Organic food is produced 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.

Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. The agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control.

Organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”

Organic food production eliminates soil and water contamination -. The use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers depletes the soil nutrients and contaminates the underground water. Organic food is produced without the use of any harmful synthetic chemicals and hence conserves the soil and water.

Fact number 2 - organic food production helps preserve local wildlife. By avoiding toxic chemicals, using of mixed planting as a natural pest control measure, and maintaining field margins and hedges, organic farming provides a retreat to local wildlife rather than taking it away its natural habitat like conventional agriculture.

Fact number 3 - organic food production helps conserve biodiversity. Avoidance of chemicals and use of alternative, all natural farming methods has been shown to help conserve biodiversity as it encourages a natural balance within the ecosystem and helps prevent domination of particular species over the others.

Fact number 4 - organic food production helps the fight against global warming. Most organically produced food is distributed locally. As a result, less energy is used for transportation which automatically reduces carbon dioxide emissions which are believed to be the main cause of global warming.

Fact number 5 - organic food production reduces erosion. Organic crop production methods do not foresee elimination of all vegetation except for crops. As a result, more soil is covered with vegetation preventing the wind to carry away the topmost fertile soil layers.

Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Antioxidant Capacity

A number of studies have been completed regarding the effects of antioxidants derived from organic foods on your overall health, and the predominant results have shown that antioxidants tend to have more of an impact when they come from organic foods. This may be due to the fact that foreign chemicals are not negatively interacting with the different vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that are so essential for the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the prevention of things like cancer, heart disease, premature aging, vision problems, and cognitive malfunction. Recent research suggests that choosing organic food can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals.

Pesticide Reduction

One of the major complaints that organic food consumers cite when choosing organic over non-organic is the presence of pesticides. In order to keep crops from being attacked by the natural world, including bugs, pesticides are required. Although they do a good job keeping certain pests away from the crops, they also are composed of powerful chemicals like organophosphorus. This is an unnatural mineral compound that is not required by humans, but more than 80% of this material in our bodies comes from eating pesticide-coated foods. Organophosphorus has been connected to a number of developmental problems, including autism and ADHD, so those organic food lovers do have a pretty strong argument in this case. To be fair, many people do choose to go organic to make sure that their children grow up healthy and unaffected by the toxins of the world during their developmental years.

Heart Health

Increased amount of time grazing on grass also increases the amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that can be found in the animal products. CLA is a heart-healthy fatty acid that can boost cardiovascular protection, and it is found in higher quantities in breast milk and in meat for animals that have been raised free range or cage-free.

Immune System

In recent decades, one of the biggest projects for farmers and food growers has been genetic modification. Making tomatoes six times larger might sound like a possible option for solving some world hunger issues, but there is another side to it. Genetic modification is still in its early stages, so the long-term effects of it on human health aren’t understood as well as we would like. In animal testing genetically modified food showed a major reduction in immune system strength, an increase in birth mortality, as well as in certain sexual dysfunctions, cancers, and sensitivity to allergens. Although there are some good things about genetically modified food, organic food advocates point to the lack of concrete details about the long-term effects

Antibiotic Resistance

People are very sensitive to issues of their health, and they often take precautions to make sure they remain healthy, like getting various vaccines and taking antibiotics as soon as a new strain of bacteria makes them ill. However, non-organic food sources, particularly livestock and feed houses, also use antibiotics to feed their animals. This extra dose of antibiotics may actually be weakening our immune system by basically overdosing on antibiotics, thereby reshaping our immune system so many times that it will eventually be unable to defend itself. Organic food growers and dairy farmers do not use antibiotics in their processes.

Overall Health

Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers, it does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals and might not affect the human body in negative ways. Natural fertilizers, like manure, work perfectly fine, and organic farmers are happy to use this smellier, yet safer, form of fertilizer.

Better Taste

Some people strongly believe that organic food tastes better than conventional food. The prominent reason for this belief is that it is produced using organic means of production. Furthermore, organic food is often sold locally, resulting in availability of fresh produce in the market, which usually does taste better than produce that has been frozen, shipped, and transported across long distances.

Environmental Safety

As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution; thus ensuring a safer and healthier world for future generations to live in.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life when they eat organic animal products.

Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. A lesser known counterpart is certification for organic textiles (or Organic clothing) that includes certification of textile products made from organically grown fibres.

Every country has its organic certification standards. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) of Government of India has laid down standards of Organic Farming and Organic Produce in India.

Link to NPOP Standards -

http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/organic_contents/national_programme_for_organic_production.htm

Organic Certification is necessary to prove that your produce is organic in nature. There are no tests to distinguish between organic and non-organic food and hence a certification remains the only way of proving that your produce is organic.

APEDA under its NPOP program has identified Certification bodies which can provide you various types of Organic Certification.

List of Certification Bodies - apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/NPOP_certification_bodies.doc

Organic Standards prevalent in India

India Organic
Approved By : APEDA
Standard: National Program for Organic Production
USDA Organic
Approved By : USDA
Standard:National Organic Program
EU Organic
Approved By : EU-Eco-regulation
Standard:EU (European Union)
JAS
Approved By : Ministry of Agriculture, Japan
Standard:Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS)

APEDA has identified three categories of labelling organic products:

100% Organic: Made with 100% organic ingredients

Organic: Made with at least 95% organic ingredients

Made With Organic Ingredients: Made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)

Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may list organically produced ingredients on the side panel of the package, but may not make any organic claims on the front of the package.

1.Look for India Organic, USDA Organic, EU , JAS Logo on the package.

2.Look for Organic Certification agency’s Logo with license Number. (Foodcert is Organicana’s Certification Body)

NPOP/NAB/0016

3. Look for FSSAI License Number on the package. (Mentioned Below is Organicana’s License No.)

Lic. No. 11416850000265

4. A transaction certificate is issued at every exchange of Organic commodities. A transaction certificate has details through which you can trace your food to its farms.

Ask for Transaction certificate (TC) copy from the supplier of Organic Food, you can also ask for issuance of Transaction Certificate for your purchases (A fees is charged for issuance of TC).

Converting land to organic status is a three-year process. There is a two-year conversion process consisting of building up the fertility of the land. Produce grown in the first year cannot be stated as organic. In the second year produce may be stated as “In Conversion”. It is not until the third year that produce may be stated as fully organic. Soil and natural fertility building are important parts of organic farming.

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