If the saying is true, and ‘you are what you eat,’ is it a case of organic best, chuck out the rest?
Is the hype surrounding organic food just that- all hype?
Here at Cube, we’ve certainly dipped our toes in going au naturale. Sunflower seeds, carrots, liquorice (an office winner)… the list goes on. In fact, you name it, we’ve tried it- the ‘certified organic’ sticker has been a star feature in the office for months.
Yet when we got hold of a University of Sydney study that showed only a slight nutritional benefit in eating organic versus non-organic produce, we Cubans started to question our nutritional ways. If going organic is no healthier, yet considerably costlier, are we just suckers to the latest food craze? When an apple tastes like an apple, is it worth the extra $1 to go organic?
Not so fast….
The Biological Farmers of Australia (the experts should know best, right?) claim that eating organic may help us live longer. What’s more, the largest study into organic food, published in 2007, found that organic fruits and vegetables contain between 20 and 40 per cent more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce.
Presented with two sides of the coin, we decided to dig deeper.
There’s lot of confusion about what constitutes organic. In Australia, there are currently 7 different organisations that certify (and label) organic products. What’s more, up until October last year, there wasn’t even a legal definition of the word ‘organic’- as long as a product wasn’t ‘certified,’ it could be labelled organic.
Thankfully, there is now a domestic Australian organic standard, which bans the use of fertilisers, pesticides and genetically-modified material. The only downfall is that the standard is voluntary, so it comes down to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to prosecute those who don’t comply. The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA) is pushing for one standard logo.
For the moment, as long as buyers pick products displaying one of the 7 logos, they can be sure their organic pickings are chemical-free- which can’t be a bad thing.
So, after a number of internal office debates, it seems we’ve come to a collective standpoint:
We like organic. In an age when everything is overly processed, there can’t possibly be any harm in ‘keeping it real.’
So, the organic stickers continue their domination in our home and office pantries, and it seems we’re not alone in our quest to go natural. Last weekend’s Organic Expo and Green Show saw more than 8,000 visitors venture to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour in search of all things chemical-free.
So, if you too are considering giving organic a go, here are a few suggestions: