Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Organic This And Organic That

I finally made my way downtown to Whole Foods.  In tow were two very small children that were patient as their momma wondered up and down each and every aisle grabbing organic this and organic that.  It was health food heaven!!!  When I got home with all of my treasures I wondered if I had just gotten ripped off.  The government is after all behind the organic certifiation and labeling.  Really, what does organic certifiation of products, crops and livestock mean?  I know organic means grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms.  The USDA organic cetification also mentioned that to be "organic," the ingredients cannot be grown in sewage sludge.  I didn't know that anything was grown in sewage sludge so I really didn't know there was a necessity to exclude this.  Apparently so.  Uhhhh!!!  The last organic ingredient cetification requirement mentioned was an organic ingredient could not use ionizing radiation.  I had never heard of ionizing radiation so I wouldn't have know to watch out for this either.  In my quick research I gathered that ioniziong radiation or irradiated food was basically x raying food to increase shelf life, destroy insects and microorganisms, and inhibit sprouting of certain crops. Just fyi here is the sign that is on all food that has been irradiated.  This sign only has to be on the food if the entire product was irradiated.  So, if a tomato was subjected to irradiation, it has to have this symbol.  If spaghetti sauce contains irradiated tomatoes, it does not have to have the symbol.
Radura symbol (stylized flower inside broken circle)

 Okay so I got the certification requirements on the growing/processing of the ingredient.  Now I needed to know what the organic label on the acutal product box means.  I wondered if I was spending more for products labeled organic and the "label" stood for 50% organic. I just wasn't sure.  So I did a quick search on the USDA requirement for labeling a product organic.  I felt much better.  To have an organic label 95% of the ingredients must be organic.  The remaining ingredients must be on an allowed ingredient list for non organic food.  Here is the best list I could find of these ingredients.   It also stated that acricultural ingredients must be organic unless not available.  Here is a quick overview of all labeling of organic products.

Image describing organic labeling.  If product is 100 percent 0r 95 percent organic, the use of the USDA Organic Seal is optional. Product with at least 70 percent organic ingredients is considered made with organic ingredients and the use of the organic seal is not permitted. Product that uses less than 70 percent organic ingredients can list organic ingredients in the ingredient list only and the use of the organic seal is not permitted.

 Hurray!  I just gave myself more peace of mind.  I did find many needed organic replacements.  We found  yummy organic graham crackers.  With 2 toddlers around some processed food is a must for picky, feed themself, can't wait a another minute for their snack kind of people.  And I must say that all of the 365 Everyday Value Organic products (which is a Whole Food brand) that we have tried have been great.  Did you know that Heinz Ketchup is now available in organic?  I have to confess that I found this at Wal Mart after I ran in for 3 items.  I was very surprised.  This momma is looking forward to the day the Whole Foods opens in the Hill Country Galleria.  Going grocery shopping downtown is quite the adventure.

PS here is the link to the cetification information

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