Going organic isn’t just about being ‘chemical free’. It’s a big picture perspective that sees the whole system of soil, plants, animal, food, people and environment as linked.
The Truth About Organics
What kickstarted your passion for cooking and eating organic food?
My passion for organic food was initially kickstarted via my taste buds. I always found that organic produce tasted so much better than non organic, so as a passionate chef it made sense to me to source the best, most flavoursome food available. Obviously there’s plenty more crucial benefits to organic food other than taste, so the fact that it was free of toxins, ethical and sustainable were all very important sugar free icings on my gluten free cakes!
What are the benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle?
The benefits of an organic lifestyle are numerous especially for us as humans striving to regain and maintain health, for conserving our planet and also to greatly reduce the inhumane treatment of the animals that we share it with.
Organic produce is something I believe to be everyones birth right, which is one of the main reasons I jumped at the chance to be the Australian Organic Ambassador. It’s imperative that we as a community work towards making organic food affordable and attainable for everyone, after all if one farmer can grow organic produce, then all farmers can grow organic produce and eventually organic will return to it’s rightful place as the ‘norm’ in society.
Not all organic labels are created equal. Sometimes a product might claim to be organic when in fact it contains only a small percentage of organic ingredients. How can we be sure we’re buying the real organic deal?
To ensure you’re getting the real deal look for a certifying label like Australian Certified Organic. It is accredited by the Australian Government who regularly and randomly audits and tests businesses and products using its logo.
Consumers are also backed up by consumer law when they chose certified organic. The skincare and hair care industries commonly use organic and natural claims but some products using these claims would never meet the strict guidelines set out in the Australian Certified Organic Standard.
What does a company have to prove for their product to wear the Australian Certified Organic logo?
There is a 100 page Australian Certified Organic Standard that companies have to comply with covering all steps of the supply chain, from farmers to retailers. A manufactured product (from canned goods to meat products and textiles) has to be produced from certified organic ingredients and processed in a way that complies with the Standard. Companies must prove that products are produced cruelty free, be pasture fed, free range, GM free and grown without hormones, antibiotics and synthetic chemicals. Environment, animal welfare and social responsibility underpin the principles of certified organic.
Sometimes it’s not always possible to shop entirely organic. But what are your suggestions for the most important products or produce to always buy organic?
We suggest people at least buy the seasonal organic options of fruit and vegetables that they eat the skin of or grows in soil, that way they are reducing their chances of digesting potentially harmful residues. We also suggest people read The Dose Makes the Poison 2012 – a report by Friends of the Earth which compares the Australian Government residue testing results.
Choosing organic meat and poultry is also extremely important for our health and to promote ethical treatment of animals too. I personally would rather go without meat and enjoy a plate of organic vegetables than eat meat from a cow or a chicken that had suffered an inhumane, unnatural life.
You can find out more by following Australian Organic on Facebook.