Let’s Start Here … There Are Different Kinds Of Organic Labels!
Going grocery shopping can already be a nagging chore to do on a weekly basis. It can be stressful to go read labels trying to buy a healthy product. It’s no lie that labels are super confusing and aren’t the easiest to decipher. When you see the word “organic” do you automatically think that it is the healthiest option for you?
Some assume that if food has the word organic then it is all processed the same, but that is not the case! There are different types of organic labels with different meanings. It does help to really understand what different organic food labels mean, to help make the best choice possible. Below is a list of different types of organic labels and what they mean!
USDA Certified Organic
Going grocery shopping can already be a nagging chore to do on a weekly basis. It can be stressful to go read labels trying to buy a healthy product. It’s no lie that labels are super confusing and aren’t the easiest to decipher. When you see the word “organic” do you automatically think that it is the healthiest option for you? Some assume that if food has the word organic then it is all processed the same, but that is not the case! There are different types of organic labels with different meanings. It does help to really understand what different organic food labels mean, to help make the best choice possible. Below is a list of different types of organic labels and what they mean!
For companies to use the organic food label the company food must be certified. This requires an extensive process. The ingredients must be organic unless specified on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Food from this National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances don’t have to be specified as long as the ingredients are no more than 5% of the combined total. The list can come from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Companies claiming their product is organic must also show their certifying agent and can have the USDA seal on their package.
100 Percent Organic
Companies who choose to advertise 100 Percent Organic on their food packaging have to follow the same guidelines as the USDA organic guidelines. The companies must also provide their certifying agent. Since they follow the same guidelines as the USDA National Organic Program they are allowed to put the USDA Organic seal on their products.
Made With Organic Ingredients
These foods must have at least 70% of certified organic ingredients. The foods also need to be without synthetic methods of genetically modified organisms (GMO). These food packages are not allowed to use the USDA Organic labeling. This is because only up to three ingredients are to be listed as organic. Food packages that state their product is made with organic ingredients are not allowed to use the USDA Organic Seal. If the products are made with less than three organic ingredients then the product would fall under the “specific organic ingredients”. Companies that do this don’t need to be certified organic, can’t display the word organic, and can’t display the USDA Organic Seal.
Certified Naturally Grown
This food label means that the foods were made with the same standard of the organic label. The big difference is the farm is not certified by the National Organic Program of the USDA. Going through the process to be a part of the National Organic Program of the USDA can be costly, so sometimes using the Certified Naturally Grown label is the best way to go.
Non-GMO Project Verified
The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that provides products that are not used with genetic engineering (GMO). They ensure that from seed to shelf does not avoid any GMO processing. However it does not meant that the product is organic.
Now that there is a list of the different organic labels, do you ask yourself if it is even worth buying organic foods? For the most part organic foods are more expensive, and over time it can make the grocery bill run high. Some foods you can and can’t get around with trying to buy organic.
Some foods that you should buy organic are apples, celery, grapes, peaches, potatoes, nectarines, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, and kale. The reason for some of these foods to be bought organic is because pesticides can soak into the fruit / vegetables, especially when the rinds / skin are thin.
Fruits and veggies that have a thicker rind / skin and foods that are less likely to absorb pesticides are a better choice to buy non organic. This list includes: asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupe, eggplant, honeydew, mushroom, onions, papayas, sweet corn, and kiwi.
What are pesticides for?
Pesticides are used to control a variety of different pests. The reason for this is to prevent the pests that carry diseases. Some of these pests include, ticks, rats, mice, and mosquitoes. Pesticides can also help with controlling weeds, insect infestation and disease.
There are many different types of peptides that are geared towards preventing different things. Below is a short list of the many pesticides and what they are used for.
- Antimicrobials and Disinfectants – controls germs / microbes such as bacteria and viruses
- Fungicides – control fungal such as mold, rust, and mildew
- Herbicides – kill or inhibit growth of unwanted plants (a.k.a weeds)
- Rodenticides – kills rodents like mice, gophers and rats. What can pesticides prevent? Since pesticides have been products there has been a significant decrease in certain diseases. Some of them include: West Nile virus, Lyme disease, rabies, avian flu (bird flu).
- Organochlorines – this pesticides include dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
- Glyphosate – This is a type of herbicide that many people know as Roundup. Pesticides can be helpful but are they also bad for you to ingest? There is often residue left on the surface of fruits and vegetables that people tend to consume.
Do Organic Pesticides Exist?
Yes there is such a thing as organic pesticides! Organic pesticides are also called biopesticides. Organic farms use these types of pesticides because the chemicals they use have occurred naturally in plants. If you are interested in a full list of organic peptides the EPA provides a list at the registered biopesticides. Still organic peptides can still cause health effects.
Both synthetic and biopesticides can be harmful in high amounts and have been linked to an increased risk in cancer. On the positive side, the amount of residues on fruits and vegetables are not at a dangerous level to be harmful. Even though the amount of residue on fruits and vegetables is not harmful you should still always rinse off your fruits and vegetables. One thing to remember when grocery shopping is buying organic it doesn’t mean pesticide free.
What’s The Takeaway Here?
Buying organic can be super beneficial to your health. However if you are on a budget then you can get definitely away with buying non-organic foods. Make sure to remember then when you are buying organic, it doesn’t mean pesticide free. Even organic produce can have organic “biopesticides” residue left on the surface of fruits and vegetables. So making sure to wash your produce will help rid the pesticide residue!