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August 27, 2012

Is It Really Organic?

Do you know where your organic food comes from?

Earlier this year, we blogged about how our food gets to our stores, but unfortunately, sometimes it’s not as organic as you first thought. I recently came across an info graphic from a June 2009 Michigan State University research study showing the major food corps that own many of the "organic" and "natural" brands we buy.

When most people buy organic, they assume they are supporting small businesses and local farmers. What the info graphic shows is that most of your organic foods are processed and packaged by major food companies. Brands such as Boca Foods and Back to Nature are manufactured by Kraft Foods, Inc; Dean Foods owns White Wave, Alta Dena, Horizon Organic, and Organic Cow of Vermont.

What this means is perhaps the foods are not only processed more than you expect from an organic label, but also may not be produced in an entirely organic way. You may also may feel uneasy supporting a larger company that doesn’t practice organic food regulations on the majority of their other products.

E3Energy Envolved’s Facebook page suggests a few tips for eating healthy and organically. A label doesn't guarantee a product is natural or that it leads to improved natural health, fat loss, or energy! Review each product individually when making buying decisions. Don't make assumptions on the package.

Seven helpful tips:
  1. The ingredient list is more important than the nutrition label.
  2. The less total number of ingredients, the better.
  3. The more ingredients you can understand as something real, the better; example dates vs. red dye #9.
  4. If it contains artificial colorings or flavor, put it back on the shelf.
  5. Only the USDA organic label on the package guarantees that a product has followed certain procedures that qualify it as organic, no matter what the label copy claims.
  6. If processed or natural sugar of any form is the first ingredient, don't buy it.
  7. Splenda/sucralose or soy: you're better off without it.
Remember, eating organic is not about paying more or buying a certain label. It’s about knowing what your food is made of and where it comes from. Sometimes you don’t need an organic label to know something is natural.

Check out our previous organic food blog: Is Organic Food Living Up to Its Name? for more tips on finding organic food. Or visit Philip H. Howard’s info graphic for more information and links to the research studies.


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