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Information about what organic certification implies is important to consumers, and there is evidence of some confusion on this point.  From the Danish literature, there are examples of confusion about imported organic foods correctly equipped with the Danish ”O”-label. Concern about genetic modification is often related to a preference for organic certification of food, and buying organic is reported to be a strategy for avoiding GMOs.
It is, therefore, important that the rules and regulations should be made available to consumers.
There is evidence that many consumers feel they do not have as much knowledge about food and food system issues as they would like (for example, in literature from the UK), and that better availability of such information would be welcomed.
But the organic food system is generally subject to stricter regulation than the conventional food market (Morgan and Murdoch 2000), and buying organic food might in this respect be seen as a complexity-reducing strategy (Luhmann 1999).
One answer could be simple labels with clear and explicit references to the certification rules and to more detailed information about the background, enforcement etc. The European Union and US governments recently made an important announcement for those of us who are interested in organic food and farming:  As of June 1, 2012, organic certification between the United States and European Union will be considered equivalent. While the original organic ideal was to eat only local, seasonal produce, shoppers who buy their organics at supermarkets, from Whole Foods to Walmart, expect to find tomatoes in December and are very sensitive to price. Few areas in the United States can farm organic produce in the winter without resorting to energy-guzzling hothouses.
Moreover, the intensive irrigation demands are increasingly overtaxing the local water supply throughout the Baja Peninsula.  As a result, some local wells have run dry this year and have thus prevented many smaller subsistence farmers from growing their own crops. Organic (the only legally-defined, therefore the only legally enforceable of these terms) means crops grown without artificial pesticides, fertilizers, GMOs, irradiation, or sewage sludge, and animals raised without hormones or antibiotics. Tags: agro-environmental sustainability, Featured, local seasonal organic, organic, organic agriculture, organic certified food, organic farms, organic food and farming, organic industry, organic not always sustainable, organic produce, USDA organic, what is organic? Wow, there are so many issues that have never crossed my mind…but hopefully, in the long run, our food supply will be better controlled and healthier. When I reviewed FoodSmart, I made a quip about how organic food might not be as good for you as you might think.
In the past year or two, certified organic sales have jumped around 30% to about $52 billion (2008 dollars) worldwide despite the fact that organic foods cost up to three times as much as those produced by conventional methods.
The number one reason that I hear as to why to eat organic foods is that they have no pesticides or harmful compounds.
Just this year, nearly half of the pesticides that are currently approved for use by organic farmers in Europe failed to pass the European Union’s safety evaluation that is required by law 5. That said, those who do eat organic can take to heart that many smaller farms use few to no pesticides, and overall, organic foods do usually contain lower levels of pesticides than conventional foods.
Some people believe that by not using manufactured chemicals or genetically modified organisms, organic farming produces more nutritious food. Just recently, an independent research project in the UK systematically reviewed the 162 articles on organic versus non-organic crops published in peer-reviewed journals between 1958 and 2008 10.
So organics are not better for us and we can’t tell the difference between them and non-organic foods. True, organic farming practices use less synthetic pesticides which have been universally found to be ecologically damaging.
The unfortunate truth is that until organic farming can rival the production output of conventional farming, its ecological cost due to the need for space is devastating. What bothers me most, however, is that both sides on the organic debate spend millions in press and advertising to attack each other instead of looking for a resolution. But I also firmly believe that increasing the chemicals used in agriculture to support insanely over-harvested monocultures will never lead to ecological improvement.
As it stands now, to be honest, if you want to eat the healthiest food for you that has the least environmental impact, buy local produce. I am a bit on the fence with organic products precisely for the reasons outlined in your article.
I will send by email my NZ media responses to aspects of the FSA nutritional attack on organics and also an example of pesticide residues in conventional produce.
You need to learn how to spell, punctuate sentences correctly, and try using words that are ACTUAL words. As for the EU report, the reason I did not include it is that it’s not available yet. BIGGEST LIAR on the planet is above…anyone that thinks organic farming is 90% more yield has failed math class terribly.
I just had to comment that Roxanne’s comment below is a far better read than this entire article.
It’s ridiculous to believe that food that is made in the laboratory and sprayed with toxin carcinogens is just as nutritious as real (not fake big corporation) organic foods.
Thirdly the toxic chemicals sprayed on plants often cause cancer but again there’s a cover up. Another question that needs to be asked is why is the USA population so overweight and unhealthy.
Alan Schofield has run a vegetable box scheme for almost 30 years and is a veteran of the Soil Association.
Alan Schofield: The OGA began 5 years ago and is a membership based organisation supporting and working to build, effective representation for organic horticulture in the UK.
We also have an interactive website, a forum where people can post technical questions, air their gripes, talk socially.
AS: We have approximately 250 members of which the largest proportion are full-time organic growers. We do not offer corporate membership but our Associate Membership allows people working within large companies to join.
The OGA also publishes a quarterly magazine, The Organic Grower, that is sent out to every member. AS: Certification is a cost and therefore you have to be running a full commercial business to justify that cost. Growers within Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) projects look to certification standards for guidelines and for growing within the spirit of them and yet, the CSA does not have the business turnover to warrant full certification.
It is important to be able to disseminate how, for example, you grow a crop of shallots from seed organically and to open it out to those people who are hungry for the technical information.
JR: Is the OGA principally dedicated to offering technical support and representation, or does your remit extend beyond that? AS: We are committed to both those aspects as well as with the social needs, the community if you like, of growers. If you have spent a few weeks handweeding a few acres of carrots, it can be an exceptionally lonely job. JR: To backtrack a little, can you give me a brief history as to how the Organic Growers Alliance came about? As organics blossomed into being a real player in the marketplace, there was less time - within the Soil Association - for farmer and grower business. The issues that were coming out of the marketplace became dominant and we were all very guilty of riding the surfboard on the crest of the wave. The Soil Association got very overwhelmed during that period with issues that were less to do with the practicalities, of how to support, how to represent, your present and burgeoning list of practicing horticulturalists. There was a gap and that was why we got together and decided that it was time to form some kind of organisation and thus, the Alliance was born. It was as important to us, as it was the Soil Association, that some form of liaison was started again. AS: The Soil Association has done a lot with regards to the launch of the Apprenticeship Scheme for new entrants into organic horticulture. The issue of access to land for example, cannot be addressed overnight, but we - the OGA - are keenly aware of it.

We are in the process of collating all of the technical information that has been published in say, the last 10 years, which will make up a new ‘library' on the website. One of the founding aims of the OGA was to ‘pass the baton' down - from the older generation and into the hands of the next generation. Alan Schofield has been an organic grower for 29 years and in tandem with his wife Debra, runs Growing with Nature, the UK's longest running organic, locally grown, vegetable box scheme. Alan is the past Chairman of the Soil Association Horticultural Standards Committee, past member of the Standards Board as well as the UKROFS technical committee. Organic food is any food that is produced without the use of artificial pest control, fertilization, or drugs. For fruit and vegetables to be certified as organic, they must be grown without the use of , artificial fertilizer, pesticides, or sewage sludge.
SonRise Farms is committed to providing a safe work environment for our staff and healthy onions for our customers.
Even if this is a fully valid precautionary strategy, as the use of GMOs is forbidden within organic certification, lack of reliable methods for analyzing whether GMOs are used or not represents insecurity about actual practice.
But it is also important that consumers have the opportunity to relate “bits of information” from regulations and codes of practice to a broader understanding of the contexts they relate to.
Nevertheless the issue of information within organic food systems needs to be further addressed. Buying organic food may be a simple way to deal with challenges and uncertainties associated with the contemporary food supply. In addition, American labor costs are high. Day laborers who come to pick tomatoes in this part of Baja make about $10 a day, nearly twice the local minimum wage. After learning how local farms inside Mexico City can feed the huge population using local resources I believe the key is eating smarter and not just what is trendy. His family owns a farm in rural Ohio (a farm which isn’t organic simply because they use a non-organic herbicide once a year, though they use absolutely no pesticides).
If, as time wears on, we find that the pesticides used by modern agriculture are more dangerous than we think, then it may be a good thing that so many of us are eating Certified Organic. Between 1990 and 2001, over 10,000 people fell ill due to foods contaminated with pathogens like E. However, science simply cannot find any evidence that organic foods are in any way healthier than non-organic ones – and scientists have been comparing the two for 50 years now. These contained a total of 3558 comparisons of content of nutrients and other substances in organically and conventionally produced foods.
There may be many things that are good about organic farming, from increased biodiversity on farms to movement away from monocultures, but producing foods that are healthier and tastier simply isn’t one of its pluses. But factory organic farms use their own barrage of chemicals that are still ecologically damaging, and refuse to endorse technologies that might reduce or eliminate the use of these all together.
Organic farming yields only around 80% the amount of conventional methods (some studies place organic yields below 50% those of conventional farms!).
Organic farming does have many potential upsides, and may indeed be the better way to go in the long run, but it really depends on technology and what we discover and learn in the future. Organic supporters tend to vilify new technologies, while conventional supporters insist that chemicals and massive production monocultures are the only way to go.
Smaller farms, like the one owned by my boyfriend’s family, often use less pesticides and take better care of their land and crops.
What I have come to realize is that you must pick your battles based upon research and guidelines. It looks great, has what I consider some very useful information, eg who owns organics?, and I have not trawled particularly deeply but again your article while technically well written is not balanced or fair. There’s a lot of spin being done by both sides, and in the end, it simply leaves the consumer not sure where they should buy their food. You take a jaded, negative approach to organic farming, and it’s clear you have spent little to no time actually working on both conventional and organic farms. In the run up to the formation of the OGA, grievances would be dealt with by DEFRA and various certification bodies, on an individual basis. Crucially, any issue that comes up, we can invite comment from more than 150 growers in the country that can then be fed back to DEFRA, the Soil Association and other certification bodies. We felt that there would be limitations on all fronts if we were to limit our membership to commercial horticulturalists. When you do meet other likeminded people at a social event, the feeling is remarkable, of being together.
We'd had it in the early days but there was now a whole new generation who were coming into organic horticulture, without the support that we had enjoyed when we had first started.
That social element - the meal, evening get together - after the official business of the day, to me is as important as the official business of the day.
This was eventually incorporated into the Soil Association, which was going from strength to strength. There is also to be a dedicated ‘Organic Futures' column in the magazine, directly addressing issues that young and new growers face. Currently, he sits on the Soil Association Farmer and Grower Board as well as being advisor to the Isle of Man Government on organic production.
The food must have been processed without the use of any kind of food additives or preservatives.
9 Delicious Healthy Eating Foods & Recipes 4:21 am By Sandra Wilkinson Fat burning foods and drinks! We have developed a food safety program around Good Agriculture Practices (GAP's), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's), and HACCP standards. The various exemptions from the organic certification rules – for example, regarding use of some types of pesticide, or of a small percentage of fertilizer from non-organic sources – are examples of other issues, which evidently come as a surprise to many consumers, if indeed they become aware of them.
These kinds of challenges relating to risk assessment are naturally not confined to the evaluation of organic certification of food, but the organic food chain is not spared of it either. Thus the issue of availability of information must be seen in connection with broader food system knowledge among consumers. As mentioned in the discussion about labels, it can look somewhat paradoxical that consumers want both more knowledge, and more complex information, yet also more simple labeling.  One might argue that organic food – certified and labeled – already in itself provides more food system information to the consumers than is normally the case with conventional food.
Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops.
The local organic farms, he explained, spray their crops all the time with a variety of chemicals. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. Furthermore, just over 1% of organic foods produced in 2007 that were tested by the European Food Safety Authority were found to contain pesticide levels above the legal maximum levels – and these are of pesticides that are not organic 6. They found absolutely no evidence for any differences in content of over 15 different nutrients including vitamin C, ?-carotene, and calcium.
Take, for example, organic farming’s adamant stance against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Right now, roughly 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and about 16 million of those will die from it. Until organic farming can produce crops on par in terms of volume with conventional methods, it cannot be considered a viable option for the majority of the world.
Also, one of the biggest environmental impacts of both conventional and organic farming is the transport of foodstuffs to the consumer.
It is such a daunting task to navigate the grocery store isles and read every single ingredient.
This article seems like it was created to discourage people interested in organic produce, which in my mind is dangerous and thoughtless for those that seek answers.

In genetic engineering they cannot be certain where exactly the inserted gene will attach itself to and what the effects down the line will be.
When I say Organic I mean totally natural, how we did it before chemicals and pesticides, with the growing methods of today. The original feeling of many in the Soil Association was, ‘the growers have left the camp', but that was certainly not the intention. It is increasingly difficult for people without a horticultural background to break into this field, and we would hope to be a helpful point along that journey for those individuals.
Organic meat must come from animals that have been raised without the use of  antibiotics or growth hormones  that are very widely used in the production of all meat-producing animals including beef, poultry, pork, lamb, etc. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic. Similarly, when Consumer Reports purchased a thousand pounds of tomatoes, peaches, green bell peppers, and apples in five cities and tested them for more than 300 synthetic pesticides, they found traces of them in 25% of the organically-labeled foods, but between all of the organic and non-organic foods tested, only one sample of each exceeded the federal limits 8. GMOs have the potential to up crop yields, increase nutritious value, and generally improve farming practices while reducing synthetic chemical use – which is exactly what organic farming seeks to do. Even the most ecologically responsible farms have to ship their products to grocery stores.
My comments on pesticides, nutrition, and sustainability are based on extensive research, and that research is cited throughout so that you can see for yourself where the information came from.
Without being able to read the report, it’s hard to judge exactly what the findings entail – for example, what exact methods were used to get their results? I would advise any readers to search further down this page for a post made by Roxanne, and you will find some actually useful information. Which means to produce an equal amount of food, you need to take more area away from wildlife. There was also Producer Services - a forum for farmers and growers within the organisation. We set up the OGA to support organic horticulturalists who were not getting that sort of representation from anywhere else. The animals must have been fed a diet that consists of nothing but organic feed or grass fed. Organic food markets are becoming more popular, though prices maybe dearer than other markets.
For example, the efforts of organic farmers to move away from monocultures, where crops are farmed in single-species plots, are fantastic; crop rotations and mixed planting are much better for the soil and environment than conventional monocultures. And, shockingly, the actual volume usage of pesticides on organic farms is not recorded by the government.
It has been assumed for years that pesticides that occur naturally (in certain plants, for example) are somehow better for us and the environment than those that have been created by man. The scary truth is that you’re exposed to bad chemicals every day when you drink water out of a plastic bottle (see our series Plastic Troubles if you want to learn more).
Of course, some conventional farms spray just as frequently, if not more so, and some organic farms use no pesticides whatsoever. Further analysis of similar studies on livestock products like meat, dairy, and eggs also found few differences in nutritional content. But what’s far more likely is that switches to organic farming will result in the creation of new farms via the destruction of untouched habitats. And in the small scale, particularly in areas where food surpluses already occur, organic farming could be beneficial.
Just look at technological advances in creating biodegradable products; sometimes, we can use our knowledge and intelligence to create things that are both useful, cheap (enough) and ecologically responsible, as crazy as that idea may sound. By buying foods produced locally instead, where we can talk to the growers and learn exactly what is in the food we’re buying, we can dramatically reduce the impact of agriculture on our environment and still get meals jam-packed with nutrition.
Comparison of composition (nutrients and other substances) of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs: a systematic review of the available literature. The upside is that my quality of intake is higher and I can also manage weight and limit spending money on empty calorie foods. GM plants are mainly engineered to withstand high levels of toxic pesticide application such as round up. Anything approved by today’s governments should be put up for review by a public oversight committee organized at the grassroots level of real organic farmers in no way influenced by the government. Nowadays, it is well recognised that the OGA is certainly not a threat, especially during things like consultations - I think we have come to be seen as much more of an asset. Why the government isn’t keeping watch on organic pesticide and fungicide use is a damn good question, especially considering that many organic pesticides that are also used by conventional farmers are used more intensively than synthetic ones due to their lower levels of effectiveness. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, this simply isn’t true, either. The same study also found Salmonella only in samples from organic farms, though at a low prevalence rate. And organic farming has another spacial price – by relying on natural fertilizers, it requires more land for the animals that produce those fertilizers. You would improve your nutritional intake far more by eating a larger volume of fruits and vegetables than by eating organic ones instead of conventionally produced ones. Every government today should have a public oversight committee so the common people will always be informed about what the government is doing. We are able to act as a bridge - we can offer a unified representation of the diversity of voices within the grower community.
The rules and regulations are strict, and getting that designation is not free by any means. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, the top two organic fungicides, copper and sulfur, were used at a rate of 4 and 34 pounds per acre in 1971 [1]. The reason for the higher pathogen prevalence is likely due to the use of manure instead of artificial fertilizers.
Talk to the person behind the crop stand, and actually ask them what their methods are if you want to be sure of what you’re eating. So if anything, the organic livestock products were found to be worse for us (though, to be fair, barely). If there is such a establishment set in place then they have to be reorganized and re-positioned for the right people to take over and keep watch for the public.
In contrast, the synthetic fungicides only required a rate of 1.6 lbs per acre, less than half the amount of the organic alternatives. Since the last ice age, nothing has been more disruptive to the planet’s ecosystem and its inhabitants than agriculture. The main thing is, know which vegetables to buy and if you have the option, go local and go organic. It’s not a literature review like the FSA, nor a comparison of dietary benefits (no attempt was made to determine if eating their organically grown food made people healthier, for example).
These are then sold to Africa where the poor people have to pay in hard currency that they do not have and have to keep buying seeds every year rather than saving their seeds. Conventional farms often use manure, too, but they use irradiation and a full array of anti-microbial agents, and without those, organic foods run a higher risk of containing something that will make a person sick. While I agree it would be nice to include it, again, I’d have to read exactly what they did to feel comfortable doing so. I vote for the public to speak up and take back the responsibility it has given away to the scheming politicians and start making your world a better place because the real power has always been the people.

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