Go Green, Go Green Everybody!  And not with envy

Go Green, Go Green Everybody! And not with envy

It is time that we woke up to brutal reality.

Wake up to the fact that every day we are being bombarded by foods grown through harmful methods of agriculture. ‘Harmful' refers to the adoption of dangerous chemical sprays, pesticides, and fertilizers to increase the quantity of bigger, better looking and heavier fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, and other such foodstuffs in a shorter span of time, that is the norm. This method is commonly carried out by vested interests for generous profits regardless of their harmful effects on human or animal health.

Given this hard-to-swallow culinary scenario, it would be wise to understand exactly how unsafe or unfit it is for us humans or other living creatures to consume such food products. It would be in our interest to pay attention to how ‘inorganic' and inedible the food that we have accepted as suitable for human consumption is.

Through this post, we wish to educate our readers about the fact that the price they are paying for organic foods is well its worth, in the long term and also as to what the organic label means.

Organic Vs. Inorganic Practices- Some quick facts:

Inorganic methods:

  •         Use harmful chemical fertilizers for plant growth
  •         Make use of insecticides to reduce pests through dangerous chemical sprays
  •         Use chemical herbicides for weed management
  •         Administer animals with harmful growth hormones, antibiotics, and medications for greater, faster production and for disease prevention.

Organic practices:

  •         Use of natural resources such as insects and birds, mating disruption or use of  traps to reduce pests and disease
  •         Rotate crops and till the soil. Manually pull out weeds or mulch to manage weeds and their spread  
  •         Restrict diet of animals to organic feed and allow free access in an open environment. Allow them to take turns to graze to ensure diseases are kept at bay
  •         Ensure the application of natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants
  •         No use of most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made from synthetic materials or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or radiation

Organic - So, are they worth the price you pay for it?

Organic foods are expensive. Why pay for higher-priced organic milk, eggs, or atta? A close look reveals astonishing facts.

Consuming organic foods save you from shoring up expensive medical bills due to health risks that pesticides and chemicals in inorganic foods pose to everyone in the long run. Given this, it is well worth the price you pay for it.

At first glance, organics can be expensive in the short term as the time required to produce them is much more than for inorganic foods. Farmers use manual methods of farming, growing, processing and distribution affecting economies of scale of production and supply chain management.

On examination, the price tag for the production of organic food reflects the ‘true' cost of growing the food. This cost includes labor, the time taken, and intensive manual management of growing, harvesting, transportation, and storage.

Moreover, the manual methods for the care and control of pests and diseases of plants and animals keep pesticides out of people, but they do cost more for the farmer. The process of getting certified and proudly displaying the organic logo, inspections, and audits, etc. cost more for growers. Hence, organic foods are priced higher.

On the contrary, the conventional methods of food production cost more for pesticide manufacturing and disposal in the longer term if you look at it.

What does an ‘organic' label mean? Why certification?

Logo matters. The label does not.

Organically farmed food products manufactured in India usually carry the ‘India Organic' certification mark for the high standards to which growers adhere. The food products or the raw materials used were grown through organic agricultural practices. No use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or growth-inducing hormones was used in their manufacture. Even the soil patches or land that they grow in are free from any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Look for ‘India Organic’ logo not label:

Anybody is free to label their products as ‘Organic.' So, beware as this may not mean that safe practices have been used in their growth the next time you reach for that packet called ‘organica' or ‘organic.' Instead, verify if they are truly genuine and are ‘certified' as such. Certification is what you should look for really so as not to be fooled.

Again for the third time and emphatically so, look for a logo and not the label, as below:

Organic Certificate:

In India, third parties can certify through an accredited process or a self-certification can also be done after some stringent world-class standards are followed. The National Program for Organic Production (NPOP), under Ministry of Commerce & Industry, issues a certificate to say that foods are grown organically and exporter is of high quality. The Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) self-certification, can be obtained by the Ministry of Agriculture from the National Center of Organic Farming (NCOF).

The legal definition of ‘organic’ in India:

Because of the growing demand by consumers, suppliers, and growers, a law or regulation is in the process of being drafted. There is no adequate regulatory framework to check and control this increasing practice of marketing products under the organic label.

In 2017, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Food regulator FSSAI issued a draft regulation for organic food products, to warrant that these food items are in effect organic.

According to the draft: "Organic food products are either those grown under a system of agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides or made from organically produced raw materials."

According to the definition of organic agriculture by the FSSAI “a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms” means the food is organic.

Notified certifying bodies give a certification mark or a quality assurance mark. This mark is mandatory. This draft regulation necessitates that labels of organic foods need to carry full and accurate data and information on the organic status of that particular product on its packing so that consumers can buy with total awareness. However, the FSSAI's draft regulation exempts organic food directly sold by the original producer or producer organization to the end buyer from obedience to such authentication.

Nevertheless, such an exemption is not applicable to processed organic products luckily for the benefit of end consumers. Here, the logo is necessary.

Why Terra Greens?

Terra Greens Organic believes in offering value to the consumer through its products processed through purely traditional methods of farming prevalent since ages in our country.  Its primary objective is to revive and renew interest in the customary agricultural practices of India that are now gradually vanishing. For more information visit http://www.terragreensorganic.com/.

Let wisdom and good sense prevail. Make your health and happiness a priority. Go organic rather than green with envy at somebody else's good health and astute choices.

Reference- https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/fssai-issues-draft-regulations-for-organic-food-products/article9737535.ece