What is 'organic', how does it apply to seasoning & is it really better for you?

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

There has been a rise in purchase of organic products recently but what is it really and how does it apply to seasoning?

"Once upon a time, all food was organic" - Colette Heneghan

What is 'organic'?

According to the soil association, organic means producing items that work with nature. They describe that ‘It means higher levels of animal welfare, reduced levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment, which means more wildlife.’

The soil association also says that organic foods always:

· has fewer pesticides

· do not have artificial colours & preservatives

· free range

· do not have routine use of antibiotics

· do not use gm ingredients

What does this really mean?

Organic food is produced on farms which avoid the use of man-made fertilisers and pesticides; however, it is important to note that contrary to popular beliefs, if and when required, fertilisers & pesticides will be used in order to prevent produce from going bad and being wasted. Although, it is important to note that while nearly 300 pesticides can be used by conventional farming methods, there are only 20 that are approved for use on organic farms. These are derived from only natural ingredients. Organic farming, however, does inhibit the use of antibiotics which can cause antibiotic resistance when consumed by us in the food chain as alongside traceability from farm to fork, this is one of the main benefits of organic food.

Are organic foods nutritionally different to non-organic foods?

Organic foods have no artificial colours or preservatives added to them and are often nutritionally different to non-organic foods, for example, organic milk which has around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic equivalents. However, with milk, organic forms have less iodine than non-equivalents so its really up to customers to weigh the evidence and decide for themselves which option works best for their lifestyle and nutritional requirements.

How does 'organic' apply to seasonings?

"Using pure and unadulterated good spices makes a huge difference to your cooking and change the flavour of your meal!" - Kumud Gandhi

Organic seasonings are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilisers and food additives, nor are they processed with ionising radiation. Of course, this depends on the part of the world you live in and whether certain crops have been compromised. Regardless, as a whole, organic herbs and spices are the same as non-organic equivalents in that they are used for flavouring, colouring, and preservation of food. However, organic farming and food production is taxing and requires genuine commitment and attention to detail. It is also backed up by rigorous, independent inspection and certification so, the organic equivalents are checked and packed with techniques that some people consider to be more superior to conventional farming techniques. This is why organic seasonings for some people, is the premium choice for maximum flavour and some health benefits.

Want to learn more about organic farming?

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