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Cal South E-News | September 2011 NUTRITION EDUCATION

September 22, 2011


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Stremicks Heritage Foods Organic Milk


What Is Organic?

It's the buzz word in food and drink, but what does it really mean to be organic?

Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and sales that assures consumers that the products maintain the organic integrity that begins on the farm.

In order to call a product organic, the ingredients must come from an organic farm. In addition, any processing of those ingredients must meet the conditions in the national organic regulations. These stringent standards put in place a system to certify that specific practices are used to produce and process organic agricultural ingredients used for food and non-food purposes.

National organic standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production. In general, the national organic regulations allow the use of natural materials and prohibit the use of synthetics in food production. Some synthetics are allowed if the review process shows that they are: not harmful to human health or the environment;
necessary to production because of unavailability of natural products; and consistent with organic ideals.

If you were to make organic cookies at home you would naturally use organic flour, sugar, oil, eggs, raisins, etc. But what about the baking powder and baking soda? Because they are non-agricultural products, neither of these ingredients meets the definition of organic. Processors of many kinds of organic foods face the same dilemma. Plus, nutritional fortification is sometimes required by regulation or professional guidelines, but not available in natural form.

For a finished food to be called "organic," and use the "USDA Organic" seal or other approved labeling, approved synthetic ingredients may not comprise more than 5% of the total product, by weight. Only products that are composed of wholly organic ingredients may be identified as 100% organic.

Why Go Organic?

1. Organic products meet stringent standards. Organic certification is the public's assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.
2. Organic food tastes great! It's common sense - well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.
3. Organic production reduces health risks. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.
4. Organic farms respect our water resources. The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.
5. Organic farmers build healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

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About Stremicks Heritage Foods Organic Milk
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