Organic is known to be less harmful for the environment because of no chemical use. It’s a clean source of food and kinder to animals. What is still debatable is- Is organic food better than conventional food for health?
There have been multiple studies indicating that Organic food is safer to consume. Results indicate that the pesticide and antibiotic levels in organic foods are definitely less compared to conventional foods. Also, animals are not injected with hormones for a quicker or larger output (for milk or eggs) resulting in safer animal produce.
So while some may debate that the level of pesticides in conventional food produce is under the alarming levels (as defined by the govt.), but accumulation of these pesticides over time in our body (and soil) will result in harmful outcomes.
Organic comes at a price. High price. So to suit your budget or if in doubt, begin with organic buying of ‘dirty few’. The most common purchases of this season being- tomato, potato, spinach, fenugreek, mustard and other greens, coriander, apple, pear, berries, grapes and milk.
Be an aware buyer. Know your source. Read and understand labels. Go seasonal.
- One of the ingredients of these eggs is organic, not the whole produce. Hens were not necessarily fed organic feed.
Most importantly, Organic or not, eat whole grains, pulses, beans, fruits, veggies and nuts to meet your daily nutritional requirement.
How to read organic labels?
- Just like green & red dots on products to signify if they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in December 2017, introduced the Jaivik Bharat logo to help customers identify authentic organic food. The consumer should look for Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’s unified organic food product logo – Jaivik Bharat and FSSAI Logo License number
- In case of single ingredient product where all requirements been met as per the specified standards can be labelled as ‘Organic’.
- In case of multi ingredient product where min. 95% of ingredients are of certified origin, can be labelled as ‘Certified Organic’.
Besides logo it would also have Name and logo of the Accredited Certification Body & Accreditation Number
Under Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) -India system:
- In case of single ingredient product where all requirements have been met, may be labelled as ‘PGS- Organic’.
- In case of multi ingredient product where min. 95% of ingredients are organic, it may be labelled as ‘PGS- Organic’.
Both the programmes (NPOP and PGS-India) are independent of each other and products certified under one system cannot be processed or labeled under another system. While NPOP certified products can be traded in export and in domestic market including imports, PGS-India certified products can be traded only in domestic market. This certification is in addition to the Jaivik Bharat certification.
4. The FSSAI in collaboration with APEDA (AGRICULTURAL & PROCESSED FOOD PRODUCTS EXPORT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY) and PGS-India has also built a web-portal to consolidate all the information in form of “Indian Organic Integrity Data Base”. This helps consumers verify the authenticity of organic food, consumers can access information about the producer, the certification system and the availability of certified organic products
Having Jaivik bharat distinguishes organic food from non-organic food, however, you may not see all the organic food in the market have Jaivik license.
Some organic food sellers may not have a Jaivik Bharat authentication but they can be authentic organic food.
FSSAI has permitted small organic producers, having an annual turnover of over Rs 12 lakh, to sell their produce directly to end consumers without certification (Jaivik Bharat Logo) till April 2020. A similar relaxation has been given to ‘aggregators’ having an annual turnover of Rs 50 lakh.
So, while you may find genuine organic products also without the logo(s) and label. One thing is for sure that, the products with such logo would meet national organic standards
How to identify organic vegetables/fruits without labels/ licenses
Organic foods are grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Hence they differ in size, shapes and often times their taste than the non-organic foods
- Size: 100% organic foods are smaller in size than the usual looking size.
2. Look: Organic foods are un-attractive. They are less-glazy and less fuller than the non-organic ones. In short, they not perfect looking.
3. Shape: Most organic grown foods are dis-figured. No two organic tomatoes will be of exactly same shape.
4. Insects: Seeing specks of insect bites on a fruit/ vegetable is a sign that it is organic. Pests/insects do not flock on pesticide-sprayed and fertilizer- induced plants
5. Seeds: Organic fruits will have more number of seeds than non-organic ones
6. Smell/Taste: Organic fruits and vegetables have a stronger smell. Fruits will smell more fruity and less sugary. Non-organic fruits will have more than normal amount of fructose and sugar
7. Shelf-life: If you open your refrigerator and see some fruits/vegetables getting expired faster than usual, it means that fruits/ vegetables were organic. They have shorter shelf lives
8. Cooking time: Organic food cook faster than non-organic ones