What does organic mean? Although the organic movement has existed for nearly a century, the market for organic products has rapidly increased in the past 10 to 15 years. These days, you can find organic produce, meats, beauty products, household goods, and much more on the shelves of ordinary supermarkets. Yet despite its popularity, many consumers don’t fully understand organic production methods or the benefits of buying organic goods. So what does organic mean? Let’s find out . . .
What Does Organic Mean?
First, since the term organic is used in a variety of fields, let’s narrow our focus before we answer the question, “What does organic mean?” Although it conveys something entirely different in the world of chemistry, in the health food industry, organic refers to food or farming methods “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents” (source).
Standards for Organic Foods
Standards for organic farming vary throughout the world, and organizations that regulate organic products have different guidelines. In many countries, including the United States, Canada, and Europe, producers of organic products must obtain certification from national (and sometimes international) organizations in order to market their foods as organic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic in the following way:
Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too (source).
The organic movement encompasses a wide variety of products. If you want assurance of the quality and integrity of an organic product in the U.S., look for the USDA Organic seal. It certifies that the company complies with the USDA’s standards and that its operations are inspected annually to verify this.
Produce may be called organic if it is certified to have grown on soil that has not contained prohibited substances (like most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) for the past three years. Meat can be called organic if the animals live in a setting that accommodates their natural behaviors, their diet consists of 100% organic feed and forage, and they are not given antibiotics or hormones. To better understand the USDA’s requirements for organic certification of livestock, please review this fact sheet.
In addition, remember that manufacturers cannot use the terms natural and organic interchangeably. To label a food as organic, the manufacturer must grow and process the food according to the USDA’s standards. The word natural, on the other hand, can be used without certification. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not developed a definition for the term. In fact, just a few months ago, in May of 2016, the FDA sought advice from the public regarding the definition and appropriate use of the term natural (source).
Benefits of Buying Organic Protein Powder
There are a variety of reasons why one might prefer to purchase an organic protein supplement over a nonorganic product. For example, many people believe that organic foods are safer, because they don’t contain pesticides and they cannot come from an animal treated with antibiotics or hormones. They also don’t contain food additives like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings.
Others believe that organic protein products are more nutritious. Although studies vary as to the truth of this claim, some research does back up the assertion. For example, a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic meat and dairy contain 50% more omega-3 fatty acids (source).
In addition, some consumers prefer organic protein powder because they are concerned that the production of nonorganic foods harms the health of the environment, animals, or humans. For example, many organic farmers use sustainable farming practices (like crop rotation) and methods that minimize manure runoff (like using manure as fertilizer or compost).
Finally, some people simply prefer the taste of organic foods. If you’ve never tried organic protein powder, perhaps a taste test is in order?
If you’re in the market for an organic protein power, we encourage you to check out CHiKPURE™™ Organic Chicken Protein. This high-quality, convenient protein powder is composed of 100% real chicken, so you won’t need to worry about superfluous fillers or unnatural additions. It checks all the boxes: USDA-certified organic, non-allergenic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Plus, it is fully cooked and ready to eat. To learn more about CHiKPURE™™ Organic Chicken Protein, please send us an e-mail. Finally, be sure to check out our website for some scrumptious recipes that incorporate chicken protein powder.