There’s a plethora of organic food items available. But, is organic a good choice? Buy and bite with more confidence after you’ve sunk your teeth into these substantial organic facts.

First, what does organic mean?
• No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
• No antibiotics
• No GMO or nanotechnology
• No irradiation
• No artificial preservatives, flavours or colours.

Nutrition Facts
Bite for bite, organic food has more nutritional value than conventional, concluded a review in the journal Food and Nutrition Research (2017). Organic crops have higher amounts of antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. How much more nutrition per organic bite? According to the British Journal of Nutrition (2014) “…a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day.” Making the switch to organic produce may add a month to your life, calculated Newcastle University researchers. As for meat, organic meat has 74 percent more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional – dairy has 56 percent more. There is, however, one measure in which organics have less than conventional foods – organics contain lower levels of cadmium and pesticides. Worth considering since research has linked higher pesticide exposure with lower sperm quality, and cognitive scores in elders.

How to Shop Organic
The words ‘certified organic’ on a label means there is at least 95 percent organic goodness in there. Buy with confidence when you see a label hosting a certifying organic logo, (e.g. ‘Canada Organic’ or ‘USDA Organic’). These logos mean the food has met strict farming and processing standards: no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, no antibiotics, no GMO or nanotechonology, no irradiation, no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours. Some products use the word ‘organic’ in a different way. Multi-ingredient products that contain between 75-90 percent organic content can claim on their label “contains XX% organic”.

Know It Really Is Organic
To be certified organic, you have to prove it. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors and enforces organic regulations. Growers and food manufacturers are audited regularly. Even at distribution points, such as the organic produce depot in Toronto, random tests are done on the produce to ensure it meets organic standards. Failure results in loss of certification.

The Environment
Go ahead, and chew on this! “Organic agriculture shows many potential benefits, including higher biodiversity and improved soil and water quality per unit area, enhanced profitability and higher nutritional value…”reported University of British Columbia researchers in Science Advances (March, 2017). Organic farming is an environmentally responsible choice.

Sink your teeth into some certified organic foods and chew with confidence knowing it contains good nutritional value, and you’re supporting agriculture that is good for the environment.

Sci Adv. 2017 Mar 10;3(3):e1602638.
Food Nutr Res 2017 Mar 6;61(1):1287333.
Br J Nutr 2016 Mar 28;115(6):994-1011
Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.
Br J Nutr 2014 Sep 14:112(5):794-811.
(Newcastle University)
Crit Rev Plant Sci 2011; 30(1-2):177-197.