The organics awareness has been growing over the last few years. Major grocery chains now have a section of the store for organic products and health food stores are popping up everywhere.
Organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. All products sold as “organic” must be certified. Certification includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and processing facilities. Inspectors verify that organic practices such as long-term soil management, buffering between organic farms and neighboring conventional farms, and record keeping are being followed. Processing inspections include review of the facility’s cleaning and pest control methods, ingredient transportation and storage, and record keeping and audit control.
In Canada, the organic industry has been growing at a rate of 15 to 20% annually for the past decade with approximately 3 670 certified organic farms in 2004.
The cost of organic food is higher than that of conventional food because the organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society. These costs include cleanup of polluted water and remediation of pesticide contamination. Prices for organic foods include costs of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. In the case of processed foods, processing and packaging costs are also included. Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps than conventional foods. The intensive management and labor used in organic production are frequently (though not always) more expensive than the chemicals routinely used on conventional farms.
Because the cost of organics is almost twice the cost of regular produce, some families are not able to buy all organics for their household. Ewg.org has compiled a list of the most contaminated produce so…if you can’t buy all organic, you should at least get these ones.
12 Most Contaminated
Buy These Organic
12 Least Contaminated
• Corn (sweet)
• Peas (sweet)
Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) has an extensive report on the pesticide level for all produce. It is definitely worth reading because we should all know which are good for our families and which are not.