Defining Natural Food
Natural Labeled Foods - What Does Natural Mean?
If you go to any supermarket, you’re likely to see a plethora of products labelled “natural,” but what does that term really mean? It certainly seems to imply that there’s a minimal amount of processing involved in its production or in its ingredients, but what standards does a food product have to live up to to be called natural?
Definitions vary country-to-country. The United Kingdom’s regulations preclude any genetically modified foods, among other things, stating that natural foods can only include “ingredients produced by nature, not the work of man or interfered with by man.” In Canada, natural foods are cannot be processed or have any additives in them, including artificial flavorings, nutrients, colorings or minerals. But what are the rules regarding natural food in the U.S.? Continue reading
Organic Agriculture and Production
The definition of organic, these days, especially as it pertains to agriculture, is murky at best. Marketing dictates that whatever the latest trends, and whatever is selling the best or the fastest means — a term is gonna’ get coined, stickers and ads are gonna’ get made, and products are gonna’ get labeled. But as consumers, what are we supposed to pay attention to? What does organic mean, and who is actually making the rules?
The term “Organic” refers to the the means by which agricultural products are farmed, processed and so on. This starts with the way the items are produced, and goes to how they are processed and then distributed. At the end of the chain, regarding sales of products, consumers should be able to rest assured that when a product says “organic” it actually means something. And the integrity of the organic stamp begins on the farm or the ranch. Continue reading
Why Buy Organic?
The Benefits of Organic Food
The organic food sector is growing rapidly and you can now find USDA Organic Certified products in most supermarkets, but what are the benefits of buying and eating organic food? We’ve covered what organic food is; now let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might consider choosing organic products over non-certified foods. Continue reading
The Organic Food Movement
Organic Food: What Makes Food Organic
“Organic” has been a major buzzword throughout the past decade and beyond, with health conscious eaters clamoring for organic produce, organic canned goods, and even organic dog food.
In fact, organic food is the fastest growing sector of the American food marketplace, with organic food sales growing by 17-20% a year for the past few years, far exceeding the growth of conventional food at only 2-3% a year.
But what exactly is “Organic”? For those new to the “Organic” movement, let’s start with the simplest definition. Organic foods are foods that are produced without synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. The term “Organic” can apply to pretty much any food category from fruits and vegetables to grains like wheat and rice to livestock to dairy products. Continue reading
The Local Food Movement
Local Food: What is Local?
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve heard the term “local food” bandied around a lot lately. Maybe you heard it on the news in a discussion about sustainable agriculture, or in a debate between about whether “local or organic” is better for the environment.
Maybe you saw that episode of Portlandia where Fred and Carrie interrogate their waitress about the origin of the chicken used in the restaurant, eventually asking her to hold their table while they drive 30 miles to the farm its sourced from (and end up joining the polygamist cult that runs it).
Okay, so that’s a little extreme, but there is an increasing popular movement that’s pushing for buying and eating locally grown food. So what exactly does locally grown mean? Continue reading