Probably one of the most popular words today, the term Organic doesn’t always mean healthy. The word organic is commonly used these days — whether it’s on food, cosmetics, and even clothing. However, most people have a vague idea but may not be able to correctly define the word organic as it is ambiguous.
Preference for organic produce is borne out of the idea that natural food is nutrient-dense and inherently superior to conventionally grown food. A lot of people confuse it with the word Natural and use them interchangeably. Additionally, it is often wrongly assumed to be pesticide-free or herbicide-free. Natural and organic have distinct meanings. Typically, when a product is labeled natural it has nothing to do with the methods or materials used to grow the food ingredients. It basically means that the product has no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Nowadays, more people are becoming conscious of the kind of food they buy, prepare, and consume. With health and wellness becoming a priority for many of us in recent years, we are subconsciously looking for instant signs to determine what’s apt for our bodies. Regrettably, marketers have recognized these quick cues and are using the word “organic” to manipulate buyer behavior.
So what then does the word organic actually mean? Below we explore the meaning of the word and why organic doesn’t always mean healthy!
What Organic Means and Why Organic Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy?
The term organic refers to how certain foods are produced. For food products to be labeled organic, they must pass certain criteria. According to USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) “Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods.”
Organic foods must have been grown without:
- Using artificial food additives such as artificial sweeteners, flavoring, coloring, and preservatives.
- Use of hormones
- Administering antibiotics
- Using genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Using prohibited substances on soil (mostly synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) for three years before harvest
So many individuals wrongly assume that organic food does not allow the use of any chemicals. However, contrary to popular opinion, organic farmers are allowed to use a limited number of chemicals and may use insects and crop rotation to control pests.
Remember, Just because something is labeled “organic” does not mean that it is pesticide-free or herbicide-fee, or even 100 percent healthy. It simply means the product met the USDA’s production standards for the term.
Furthermore, there are many misconceptions about organic food being safer and healthier than conventionally grown food. However, how the food is grown does not completely make foods better or worse for you nutritionally. The word organic cannot be used as your sole criterion for judging nutritional quality. Growing methods shouldn’t equate to “healthy” and this is particularly true when you are eating a balanced diet overall.