Friday, July 17, 2009

O, that's what 'organic' stands for

With "Food Inc." opening, a food safety overhaul being discussed by Congress and food costs soaring beyond many strapped budgets, you might be wondering if organic foods are something only the rich can afford. I think it's a matter of priorities; if we're truly committed to economic justice, we do need to pay more for food. That said, we also need to shop smarter so that our food dollars help out farmers directly. Packaged foods are convenient, but they also come at a cost, and often benefit corporations that do not have our best interests at heart.

Just what does "organic" mean on packaging?
  • When it says "100% organic," a product must display an ingredient list, the name and address of the handler of the finished product, and the name and seal of the organic certifier. Chemicals, additives, synthetics, pesticides or genetically engineered substances are not permitted in these products.
  • Foods labeled "USDA organic" must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. The remaining 5% nonorganic ingredients could include additives or synthetics if they are on an approved list. The label must bear the name of the organic certifier and a list that identifies the organic, as well as the nonorganic, ingredients the product contains.
  • Products labeled "Made with Organic" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, and a list identifying both organic and nonorganic ingredients must appear on the label. Also, the name of the organic certifier must be included. When products have less than 70 percent organic ingredients, the word "organic" may not appear on the packaging or the display panel. However, an organic claim is permitted on the ingredient label.

No comments:

Post a Comment