In a grocery store you may notice that there's a section for organic foods. So what does organic food actually mean and how is it different from other foods?
What is Organic Food?
While the definition of organic foods changes a bit from country to country in Canada organic food means food that is produced using environmentally and animal friendly farming methods.
There are many strict rules that farmers must follow if they sell organic food. They must:
- Use no, or very few, toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for plants. Instead they rotate their crops, use insects or mechanical methods to control pests/weeds, and use eco-friendly substances to help their food grow.
- Use no, or very few, drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones on animals. They also make sure that their animals have access to the outdoors: fresh air, sun and access to pasture.
- Genetic engineering (GMOs) on both plants and animals are not allowed.
- Sewage sludge (biosolids) and irradiation are not allowed
- Not allowed to use artificial food colours, flavours, sweeteners, preservatives and many other processing aids and ingredients
Organic vs Natural Foods
‘Natural’ food does not mean 'organic' food! If you see a label that says ‘organic foods’ then, by law, they must have followed the rules shown above.
‘Natural’ is just a marketing term used by companies based on their own definition of what “natural” is. That means they don't have to follow the rules above. Anyone can use the word “natural” on their products, and consumers have to trust them. So be careful of that.
Where to Buy Organic Foods
All organic foods will say “organic” on them, and should be easy to see.
Most grocery stores have a section or an aisle where they store their organic food. It usually looks a bit different than the other food aisles and may be a different colour (usually green).
There are also organic food stores in Winnipeg. Here's a list:
Sunrise Health Foods
Organic Planet Worker Co-op
Aviva Natural Health Solutions
Scoop & Save Natural Health Foods