Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Re-labeling Organic food!

October 2008 – Understanding Organic food!
                            Part I: Clarity
  

This is part I of a series of articles that will uncover the truth about the foods we are eating.

Clarity First!

What is Organic?

The Merriam-Webster Online definition of Organic:  (2): of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides <organic farming> <organic produce>
I would like to add without fungicides, herbicides, and genetically altered or modified food methods.  Basically it means growing foods naturally or the way nature intended to. 

What is Conventional?

The word conventional means ordinary or common.  This word does not completely convey what it represents in the food industry.  Yes it may be more common, especially in North America, for people to purchase this type of food.  However, it implies that this food source is the norm and everything else is not.  In fact, conventionally raised food has become so “normal” that no one even calls it that anymore (conventional).  People just refer to it as “food”.  This surprises me because conventionally raised food is food that is opposite to the organic definition above.  It uses chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetically altered or modified food methods and so on!  Basically there are very few rules and restrictions when it comes to the conventional food methods.

Why is this important?

The labels are misleading.  Let me give you an example.  A person goes shopping and comes across two heads of lettuce – Conventional and Organic.  The Conventional one is labeled as “head of lettuce $0.99” and the Organic one is labeled as “Organic head of lettuce $1.99”.  Many people do not know the difference between the two and usually the price decides the purchase.  Why are they going to pay twice the amount for a food they can get for half the price?  It does not seem like much of a choice.  However, what if instead the Organic head of lettuce was labeled as “head of lettuce $1.99” and the conventionally raised was labeled as “chemically or toxically sprayed food $0.99”.  At least now the shopper would know why one is less than the other.  And they would know exactly what they were purchasing.  They would also know that the cheaper food can be hazardous to their health because of the added growth hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs etc.

I will use an analogy to further clarify my point.  Many people knew the exact dangers of smoking and for this reason they fought extremely hard to ban the substance from indoor use.  Before it was completely banned from indoor use some places had designated rooms – smoking and non-smoking.  Now that is very clear labeling.  Everyone knew what choice they were making when entering either room.  However, this is not the case with the food industry.  They would have labeled the two rooms this way “air” and “organic air”.  How ridiculous does that sound?  Air filled with toxic chemicals (smoke) should not be labeled as “air” or “conventional air”.  And the same should be in the case with food.   

In conclusion to this section, we must change our perspective to the current labeling of food.  We must realize that Organic food is simply food and Conventional food is not “normal” food but toxically sprayed and hazardous food.  If we change the labeling around in our minds we can make better choices, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones too.  The next time you are out grocery shopping, ask yourself this question.  Would I buy my child a pack of cigarettes?  Of course not!  Then why would you buy them conventionally raised or farmed food?  


Food Re-labeled:        Organic food = food               Conventional food = toxic food


Coming soon in November – Understanding Organic Food! Part II

By: Sal Crispo
Vaughan Personal Trainer

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