Organic foods are now present on the shelves of all supermarkets and on the tables of many Italians. But are organic foods really better than conventional ones? And, if so, in what? Let’s be clear.
What are organic foods?
Organic foods are foods that come from organic farming, a production system that uses agricultural methods that aim to safeguard nature and the environment.
In fact, organic farming provides for severe restrictions on the use of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers.
Similar limitations apply to the use of antibiotics and other drugs intended for animals. The animals are raised in a healthy way and particularly respectful of their well-being, on the ground outdoors and not in cages, and are fed with natural feed and organic fodder.
The organic products are also GMO free, i.e. free of GMOs, genetically modified organisms.
The transformation phase of organic foods is also consistent with this ecological approach and therefore derivative products, such as pasta, yogurt, cheese, wine, beer, etc., benefit from a greatly reduced use of additives, processing aids and chemically synthesized substances.
Organic foods thus contain very low quantities of unwanted elements and added toxic residues (except, unfortunately, for those coming from pollution and already present in the environment and atmosphere, which indistinctly contaminate organic and non-organic productions).
The market for organic products is growing 10-15% per year. Appeared in Italy a few decades ago and initially appreciated only by a small minority of consumers, organic foods are now increasingly widespread, not only in organic food stores and small “organic” supermarkets: even in large-scale distribution You can find at least one line of organic foods. It is also very convenient and usually cheaper to buy quality organic food online.
How to recognize organic products? And can it be trusted?
Organic farming is regulated by European and national laws. To ensure that farmers, processors and importers comply with the legislation, a strict control system on a community basis has been established, for which each State of the European Union has designated specific bodies that carry out periodic inspections.
The Italian bodies that carry out the checks and certification of organic production are recognized by decree of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and are in turn subject to the control of the same Ministry and the Regions. Their name (Bio Agri Cert, Codex, Soil and Health etc.) appears on the label of the product they have certified.
The special logo must be much more visible on the label. Certified organic farming products must in fact bear the organic logo of the European Union on the packaging, the only brand that guarantees consumers the safety of the organic origin of food and beverages.
From 1 July 2010 the logo has changed and is the one shown at the beginning of this article, with the stars symbolizing the European Union that draw the outline of a leaf on a green background. From the end of June 2012 (the adjustment period granted by the EU to producers) all organic prepackaged products from a Member State must necessarily report it, while it is optional for non-prepackaged products and imported prepackaged foods.
The logo cannot be used for products that contain less than 95% organic ingredients.
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