In Europe, organic products have been popular for quite some time, in Ukraine, the demand for them appeared only a couple of years ago and is gradually gaining momentum. Every year, more and more households in this industry, as well as connoisseurs of healthy food and organic products. In this article we will look at the main benefits of organic products.
The main standard is care
Organic products are products whose production does not use chemically synthesized fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and stimulants, GMOs, hormones, preservatives, artificial flavors and dyes. Instead, they use technology, retain maximum nutrients and have a minimal impact on the environment.
The basic principle of organic agriculture is effective ecosystem management, not the use of external agricultural resources. For example, instead of using artificial means of controlling pests and diseases, farmers pick up plant varieties and animal breeds that are resistant to diseases.
The product has the right to be called organic, if:
- the manufacturer has passed the certification procedure in one of the accredited bodies, information about which is indicated on the wrapper of the goods;
- products comply with organic standards: international (IFOAM), continental (EU Council Regulation) or standards of individual companies that meet international standards. This is evidenced by a special logo (for the EU this is the so-called “Euroleague”);
- 95% of the ingredients are organic. Information on the origin of organic raw materials should also be indicated on the packaging.
Caring for the environment
Traditional agriculture is chasing yields and profitability — the environment is often blinded to by the effects of farming methods. Such short-sightedness has negative consequences: soil erosion, water, soil and air pollution, and, in the long run, desertification and climate change.
The priorities of organic farming are ecological balance and harmonious relations with the outside world. On such farms they use multicultural farming systems, crop rotation, organic fertilizers and minimally cultivate the soil. As a result, the earth retains moisture better and recovers faster.
The high organic content increases soil’s ability to hold on to carbon and allows it to reduce its emissions over time — an environmentally responsible farm also contributes to combating climate change and the greenhouse effect.
Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides combined with soil erosion lead to pollution of groundwater. In organic production they are not used – the water remains clean. In addition, such farms save energy better by consuming 30-50% less electricity per unit of production than traditional farms.
Rational production, combating climate change, desertification, land degradation are all key principles of organic farming and at the same time the global goals of the sustainable development strategy 2016-2030, approved at the UN summit. This is so, by the way.
More plants, happier animals
A team from the University of Queensland, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conducted a study and found that 62% of the Red Book species were there because of agricultural activities. Biodiversity conservation and restoration is another priority for organic farming.
Refusal of chemicals is useful not only for animals and plants, but also for soil microorganisms: the density of their populations in organic farms is higher.
For animals create stress-free conditions of detention and transportation. Cattle are not kept on a leash: cows on organic farms graze freely on pastures. According to the standards, they must have enough space, fresh air and adequate shelter.
Special attention is paid to feed: they do not contain preservatives, hormones, growth stimulants and pathogens of appetite. And for the first few months, calves are fed only natural milk.
In organic animal husbandry, it is forbidden to use antibiotics for prophylaxis, and for veterinary medicines it is limited. In general, the organic approach to animal husbandry is more humane and natural.
Your body will thank you.
The most popular question for scientists is whether organic products really contain less nitrates. By themselves, nitrates do not harm, it is one of the main mineral compounds that feed the plants. The main thing is that their concentration does not exceed the norm, otherwise, entering the human body, they can react and form carcinogenic compounds, which can lead to the appearance of malignant tumors.
And although even in ordinary foods, the level of nitrates should not exceed the allowed norm, in organic food they are lower. However, most scientists take the criterion is not the amount of nitrates, and the nutrient content.
Studies have shown that, comparing with conventional counterparts, organic products contain:
up to 50% less cadmium. It is a heavy metal that accumulates in the human body, and its high content causes cardiovascular and oncological diseases. Cadmium comes to plants mainly from chemical fertilizers that are not used on organic farms, 18–69% more antioxidants, in particular polyphenols. That is, by eating one organic apple, you get as many antioxidants as from two or three regular ones. Antioxidants slow down the aging process resulting from oxidation, protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation and reduce the risk of developing cancer;
less pesticide residues. In inorganic products they occur four times more often;
more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and iron. This indicator applies to dairy products and meat and is directly dependent on the nutrition of animals. Our bodies cannot produce polyunsaturated fatty acids on their own, so the only source of omega-3 is food.
In addition, certified organic products are safe, because each production stage controls an accredited certification body certifying compliance with the requirements and standards of organic production.