What does organic really mean?
Understanding exactly what organic means is a big issue for many consumers – especially in a world like ours where deception is rife.
In fact, use of the word ‘organic’ on many product labels is downright deceptive and intended to deliberately confuse consumers. From a scientific context, any product that starts life as natural matter and has a carbon base – basically anything that has been alive – can be classed as ‘organic’, and this is where the deception occurs and why it is difficult to stop.
But you can educate yourself as a consumer to ensure you aren’t hoodwinked and here are some suggestions to look out for:
- If using ‘organic’ as a guideline for buying a product, check for certification – only products certified by a registered authority can be labelled ‘certified organic’.
- If using your own intuition and logic (which we highly recommend!), then make sure you look at whether the product has been produced using GMOs (genetically modified organisms); whether you can pronounce the ingredient list AND how many ingredients the product itself contains (as a guideline, if you cannot pronounce something and the list is longer than about 6 or 7 ingredients, then think twice about purchasing).
- Get in touch with the manufacturer and ask them! This is the best kind of social pressure as it shows a company that not all consumers are blindly accepting whatever they see marketed.
- Check for country of origin and do some quick research into what this means for the product you are considering. Don’t allow politics to sway you here – focus on agricultural practices and regulation.
- Be wary of products that state ‘contains certified organic ingredients’ – this can sometimes be a ‘sweetener’ thrown in by a company to offset some truly nasty ingredients. In fact, this warning could be applied to any product and any type of marketing deception – e.g. a toxic laundry liquid with pure essential oils added so it is marketed as ‘natural’ or a sugary breakfast cereal fortified with synthetic supplements to offer your daily intake of ‘X’ vitamin. You hopefully get the picture.
Choosing products that are organic, certified organic, non-GMO, chemical-free and ethically produced (i.e. avoiding slavery practices, cruelty to animals and damage to the Earth) is rewarding for yourself and for our planet. Show your body and the Earth the respect they both deserve, and become a more conscious shopper – that way you will avoid being a victim of pretty labels and flashy language!