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How Organic is the Organic Food?

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Sikkim in India is the Organic State. The complete produce, may be the fruits and vegetables or the wheat and moreover the spices, daals and other cereals are all organic because there was no agrochemicals used for the growth of the crops.

Some time back there was a craze for the organic fruits and vegetables and the grocery also. Shops were publicizing that they sell only organic. They were also charging higher rates than the conventional produce. Is it correct. How these organic are organic.? What are the standards to check whether the produce is organic or not. Let us see that how organic is organic?

The United Nations’ recent declaration of Sikkim as the world's first Organic State has brought the big organic debate back into focus: what exactly is organic – and how do we identify a genuine organic product?

Simply put, a product is organic if it is produced in a farming system that uses no chemicals, fertilizers, GMOs or artificial additives. Instead it relies on crop rotation, animal and plant manure, and biological pest controls. It is good both for us, and our planet. Following environmentally conscionable agro-ecology policies in growing food ensures a better future for our biodiversity and is nutritionally beneficial for us, including, some believe, lowering the risk of cancer.

But with so much organic stuff in the market, it is hard for the average consumer to sift authentic organic produce from something that may be just cashing in on the trend. So how does one make sure what we are eating is genuinely chemical-free? It is not exactly simple, but there are a few checks to do so.

Organic vs (100 percent ) Organic -The first difference we need to understand is that not all organic food in the market is 100 percent  organic. Labelling plays an important role in identifying this difference. In India, one can get a farm certified by a whole host of certifying agencies approved under the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), and any food item may adhere to one or many organic certification standards.

 Unless the product clearly says 100 percent  organic, you will need to research the certification standards of the label on your food to understand exactly how organic the food is. The international standard of declaring anything organic requires it to be strictly chemical and pesticide-free but India doesn’t always follow the rules. The Telangana State Seed & Organic Certification Authority, for example, recently tested a sample of organic food in India to find that almost all the sample contained chemical residuse.

Understanding Certificates and Standards - An organic farm may strive to get certified by Indian and international standards both. You can get various organic food certifications, such as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) authorised bodies, EU organic standard and more. The more certifications, the better the chances of the food being 100 percent  organic.

Once a farm gets certified organic, some non-organic farms can trick consumers by unethically supplying their produce under that label by coming to some private financial arrangement. To complicate matters further, there’s also the flip side. Not every uncertified food is non-organic. Small farmers who do the good work and produce organic crops often find it too cumbersome or confusing to get the right certification.

Groundwater pollution is one of the major causes of chemicals seeping into crops, raising a big question on how organic any food produced in India is. Rainwater harvesting is a solution – farms.

The India Organic logo, a bird logo, is an important check in this respect. If you are dedicated enough, you can also resort to legwork and due diligence to actually check how the farm where your food is coming from uses water. Most organic farms are open to public and anyone can go and check their practices anytime.

Price, in fact, shouldn’t be a factor. There is no real reason for organic food to be more expensive than non-organic, and experts agree that there is hardly any difference in the cost of normal and organic farming.

The farmers do not make money. on these high costs that we as consumers pay for organic food.

How Organic is ‘Organic’? - Testing organic food for chemicals is a lengthy and expensive prospect. While people are continuously devising new ways of detecting impurities and pesticides in milk and vegetables, for now the only solution to making sure that you are eating 100 percent  organic food may be to… grow your own food.

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