When shopping for fruits and vegetables you are bound to come across terms like organic, certified organic, minimally treated and conventionally farmed. With all the labels it can be difficult to figure out what means what and which terms you can actually trust Well, lucky for you, we’re here to clear things up.
Organic farming refers to a specific type of agricultural production system used to produce food and fiber. Organic farming techniques prohibits farmers from using synthetic pesticides. All produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs and fibers must be derived organically. To do so, organic farmers relies on developing biological diversity in the field to disrupt habitat for pest organisms, and to maintain soil fertility. By allowing farm animals access to the outdoors and feeding them 100% organic feed, a healthier farm system is created for people, animals and the environment.
Certified organic refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards, and must be verified by organizations that have been accredited by the USDA. All products sold as “organic” must be certified. To obtain certification, farmers submit an organic system plan and must undergo an inspection of their facilities. Inspectors ensure that all organic practices are taking place, as well as cleaning protocol and pest control methods, transportation and storage, and that record-keeping is being followed. Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of food without artificial ingredients or preservatives, whereas certified organic requires the rejection of any synthetic and artificial ingredient.
Conventional farming uses unnatural farming methods such as, chemicals, synthetics, and other materials to manage weeds, pests, and grow and maintain their crops. Since there is no oversight regarding sustainability and the EPA has a high allowance level for chemical/pesticide residues, conventional farms use chemical, synthetics and genetically-modified organisms to kill pests and maximize output. This causes harm not only to your health, but the environment as well. Unfortunately, conventional farming is the most widespread method of farming. When possible, It is best to avoid fruits and vegetables that are not labeled organic. If you can’t avoid all conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables, the Dirty Dozen, comprises a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues, that should only be eaten when organic.
Now that you know the terms, you should be both inspired and enlightened enough to join the Green Blender Smoothie Club and get the freshest smoothie ingredients!