So you’ve read up on ‘why’ we believe eating organically is an excellent lifestyle choice (link here), and perhaps you’re ready to take the next step by swapping out some of your conventional food purchases for organic. We thought it might be helpful to share some tips on what to look out for when selecting organic fruits and vegetables, as well as organically raised meat, dairy and eggs.
The word ‘organic’ is not fully regulated in Australia, nor are terms such as ‘pure’, ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’. This means you can by misled by product labels using these terms as a clever marketing ploy.
The only way to ensure you are getting genuine organic fare is to look for certified organic labelling. The labelling proves the systems of the farmers and producers have undergone rigorous testing and have been audited to comply with strict standards.
In Australia, we have 7 organic certification companies that have been approved by AQIS and Australian Standards to conduct this complex and vigorous testing for certification. Look out for produce certified by:
- Australian Certified Organic(ACO)
- National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia(NASAA)
- AUS-QUAL Limited(Aus-Qual)
- Bio-Dynamic Research Institute(Demeter)
- Organic Food Chain(OFC)
- Safe Food Production Queensland(SFPQ)
- Tasmanian Organic-dynamic Producers(TOP)
If you are just starting your transition to organic produce, choose the softer, more penetrable skinned fruit and vegetables where pesticides have direct contact with edible parts. Also choose produce that you consume with the skins on where the chemical residues would normally remain on the conventional product.
At Go Natural look out for our green and red spot stickers on the price tags of our fruit and vegetables. We identify the certified organic fruit and vegetables (green spot) and spray free, locally grown produce (red spot) so you can make an informed purchase decision.
When it comes to selecting organic meat and dairy products, it’s not enough to ensure animals are simply free ranging and grass fed. When you buy ‘certified organic’ meat and dairy, you can be sure it is sourced from animals that are reared without synthetic growth hormones or processed grains, in an absence of inhumane electric prodders and machinery. They also use natural breeding and weaning methods that are stress free and gentle on both mother and baby. When you buy grass fed only, without the certification logo, you must check it is from a reputable farm that uses as many of the above principles as possible.
Research suggests that organic meat, dairy and eggs can contain up to 50% more beneficial omega 3 fats as well as higher levels of Vitamin E, iron and other minerals. We also believe organic meat has a superior flavour and tenderness. Happy animals = tasty, nutritious meat!
MTP Organic Meats and Barambah Dairy are excellent local organic meat and dairy producers that we have always stock at Go Natural
Lastly, let’s look at selecting eggs, as many people can feel quite overwhelmed by the large assortment of free range and organic eggs available, not to mention, cage-free, barn-laid, vegetarian, corn fed, omega rich…the list goes on.
There is no need to get your feathers in a ruffle (pun intended) as long as you stick to a few key principles when making your choice.
- Ensure they have an organic certification logo, which shows they are fed a diet of organic grain and allowed to free range on pastures with access to fresh grass and wild bugs. To discourage overcrowding they also have laws around the number of allowed chickens per square metre.
- If they do not have the logo, check they come from a home or farm (preferably locally), that allows free ranging outdoors in adequate spaces and are fed a mixed diet of grain and fresh produce to gain maximum nutritional benefits.
- Barn laid and cage free eggs can be misleading terms as these chickens can simply be crammed into a barn or shed in an overcrowded space with no access to pastures. It pays again to check their origin.
Our certified organic, free ranging Fraser Coast eggs are laid locally Hervey Bay and are not only ethically and organically farmed and raised, but taste amazing with rich orange yolks (a sign of a happy chook)! We are very proud to stock such a great organic business here in the Bay!
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