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Organic Foods – Is it that much better?

Organic Foods and the Australian Organic Industry is now worth 1.8 Billion dollars and “there is a significant and undeniable growth in popularity of organic products” says Paul Stadhams CEO of Australian Certified Organic. This popularity has fueled growth of 35% since 2012 and grows by 15% every year. With well-known media personalities like Pete Evans supporting the September 2016 Organic Awareness Month, what is behind this record high growth and is it really that much better for us?

organic foods

What is Organic Foods?

The three most common understandings of organic products are that they are chemical free, additive fee and environmentally friendly. As well as this, they are generally cruelty free, non Genetically Modified, pasture fed, socially responsible, sustainable fished, biodiversity friendly and of course grown free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics.

Organic Foods

What is Certified Organic Foods?  

To offer consumers a level of confidence, each organic product needs to go through a strident certification process. The producers need to prove 100% compliance to the federal government – Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS) 1991 for up to 3 years before final approval.

Other products may be labeled Organic but it means that they have not completed, have not passed certification or are currently going through the certification – “Inconversion”. So always look for the Certified labels or logos to understand the quality of food and the value for money. In Australia we have 6 national certification bodies.

  • AUS-QUAL Pty Ltd
  • Australian Certified Organic
  • Bio-Dynamic
  • NASAA Certified Organic
  • Organic Food Chain
  • Safe Food Production Queensland
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What is Bio-dynamic foods?

Similar to organic foods they have the same farming practices and use manures and composts as fertilizes rather than artificial chemicals.  Some of the differences are using the astrological calendar for sowing and planting timings, the interdependence of soil fertility with plant growth and livestock and various esoteric concepts.

Are Organic foods better?

Definitely, the science is suggesting that there are many health benefits from Organic Foods. Sure there will always be debate but more and more evidence is pointing towards the positive health benefits. Here are some of the key points

  • Organic foods are generally higher in nutrient density including less known secondary nutrients
  • Nutrient deficient foods are a major determinant in a range of chronic diseases
  • Higher antioxidant values – cancer fighting
  • Negative health impacts of chemically sprayed products and foods
  • Uncertainty around Genetically Modified foods

The growth of the Organic Industry looks like it will continue for many years, with a more health conscious, green friendly and educated consumer demanding better quality foods with positive health benefits.

Facts about the consumption of certified organic food, cosmetics and household products
– Dairy is the fastest growing organic sector, worth $113m
– Beef is the second fastest growing organic sector, worth $198m
– Wine grape production increased by a staggering 120% between 2011 and 2014
– There’s 18% annual growth in certified organic skincare and cosmetics
– Exports of organic products have more than doubled from 2012 to 2014.
Source – Australian Organic Market Report 2014

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organic foods

Proudly published in September 2016 edition South City Bulletin

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