Research shows organic foods, including fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy, may have nutritional, environmental and animal welfare benefits. So, it’s clear why parents want to choose organic foods for their children.
Here we take a deeper look into the benefits.
Research has compared nutritional content of organic and conventionally grown plants. Whilst both organic and conventionally grown foods can provide all the nutrients your child needs for a healthy balanced diet, research has shown that some organic foods has:
Lower nitrate levels
Higher omega-3 fatty acid levels
Higher vitamin C levels
Higher levels of phosphorous, magnesium and iron.
Pesticides and other chemicals
Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and artificial fertilisers. Whilst not completely chemical free, the naturally occurring pesticide residues in organic foods are considerably lower than those found in conventional foods produced with the use of synthetic chemicals.
Organic foods are also not derived from genetically modified (GM) components or ingredients. GM is where the foods have been altered in a way that does not occur naturally using non-traditional breeding methods.
Organic farms are only certified after they have been operating according to organic principles for three years. Organic farming principles protect the environment and work in harmony with existing ecosystems including conserving water, soil and energy and using renewable resources. The farming practices minimise damage to the environment by diversifying their crops and pastures which reduces soil erosion and nitrous oxide emissions.
Organic farming uses natural farming systems like composting, animal and green manure and physical weed control, keeping the land in good condition.
Organic farming generally operates on a smaller scale and production is more labour intensive. Because of this, organic foods are often more expensive than conventionally produced foods.
Organic standard certification governs animal welfare provisions. Animals raised on organic farms are treated humanely and with respect. They have access to roam on pastures in the open air (not kept in cages or feeding lots) and have protection against the weather.
The cows feed on high-quality grasses and their diets cannot be supplemented with genetically modified grain or grain concentrates. Under requirements for organic farming, growth-regulating drugs, steroids, hormones and antibiotics are all prohibited.
How do I know if I’m buying food certified as organic?
The use of the word ‘organic’ on a food label is not so well regulated, so it is important to make sure that products you buy come from certified growers and producers. Don’t be tricked by claims the produce is ‘natural’ or ‘chemical free’ if the correct certification labelling is not showed.
Tips when buying organic products include:
Read labels carefully to see which ingredients in the product are organic.
Ask the business about any certification used and do some research if you are unfamiliar with it. Seven organisations classified by the Australian government as organic certifiers are listed below.
If no certification is used, ask the business to explain how its processes ensure its product is organic.
Accredited certifying organisations
Certification ensures that the ingredients, associated inputs, processing activities and transportation of goods all conform to the stipulated standards set out under the National Standards for Organic.
Whilst the foods sometimes don’t look as shiny or don’t grow as big as conventional ones, many people say they also taste better!
At Bellamy’s Organic, our foods are dual certified by both Australian regulatory bodies, ACO and NASAA. This means that every step of our production chain, from farming through to packaging, is regularly audited to ensure we keep our promise to make simple, nutritious, organic food, free from all the bad stuff!