Showing posts with label Organic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Organic. Show all posts

Dec 4, 2015

Egg Terms

There are many terms grocers use to sell us eggs and many of them do not mean much. The one that most strikes me is 'vegetarian diet'. Since chickens are omnivores, feeding them a vegetarian diet is unnatural.

  • Farm fresh: Means nothing and is only used to make the eggs sound more appealing.
  • No hormones: Means nothing and is completely misleading, because it is illegal to give poultry hormones.
  • Free-range: Means the hens are cage-free, but only have "access to the outdoors." Usually a small screened off patio or enclosure.
  • Pasture raised: Pasture-raised birds spend most of their life outdoors, with a fair amount of space, plus access to a barn. Many are able to eat a diet of worms, insects, and grass, etc.
  • Cage Free: The hens do not live in cages. They usually live in aviaries: massive industrial barns that house thousands of birds. Each bird has, on average, 1 square foot of space.
  • All Natural: This phrase has no real meaning, because [conventional chickens] are raised in the least natural conditions.
  • No Antibiotics:  Antibiotics are rarely used in the egg industry.  However, chickens  raised for their meat do commonly get antibiotics to fend off disease and increase animal growth.
  • Vegetarian Diet: Chickens are not vegetarian. They are omnivores and in the wild, get most of their protein from worms, grasshoppers and other insects. Hens that are fed a "vegetarian diet" are probably eating corn fortified with amino acids.
  • Omega-3:  Hens are likely given a bit of flaxseed mixed in with their corn feed. This could possibly lead to higher levels of omega-3 in their eggs.
  • Organic: This means something more specific, and egg producers who use it are subject to USDA regulation. Organic eggs must come from hens that are free-range, fed organic feed (no synthetic pesticides), and receive no hormones or antibiotics (most do not get these anyway).

Aug 28, 2015

Organic and Taste

Research in 2013 showed that most people do not know what 'organic' really means. It found people prefer food labelled with ethically named terms like 'organic,' 'fair trade," and 'locally produced' and they actually report that it tastes better, even if the label is totally fake.

The research combined the results of a 4,000-person survey conducted across eight European countries with three experimental studies. Participants were presented with a selection of apple juices, breakfast biscuits, and chocolates. The foods presented were identical, but some were labelled as ethically produced while others were not. For people who had reported that eating ethically is important to them, they not only preferred the mislabeled food, they also thought it tasted better.

The research supports the results of a small Swedish study from 2013 that found people think the same coffee tastes better when they are told it is organic. Sounds like more proof of 'perception is reality'.

Nov 18, 2011

Organic News

True and funny. Nebraska troopers patrolling the state fair grounds in September told a woman that she had an "illegal" message on her T-shirt and that if she wished to remain at the fair, she would have to either change shirts or wear hers inside out. The message was a marijuana leaf picture with the slogan "Don't panic, It's organic." She was at the fair to attend the night's live concert starring self-proclaimed marijuana user Willie Nelson.

Jun 8, 2011

FDA Definitions

Food labels were once meant to make things perfectly clear, so we could make good food buying decisions. However, like most governmental regulations absolute rules become quickly obfuscated. The "per serving" is the thing to watch as many manufacturers make serving size humorously low to get a better rating.

"Low Fat" can mean there's up to 3 grams of fat per serving. "Fat Free" can have 0.5 grams and still count.

"Light" can mean a number of things, from the literal (the color) to the more concrete (50% the fat of plain-label), but it can also be used to mean simply "less" calories, without any actual figures. "Low Calorie," on the other hand, must have 40 calories or less per serving, and "Fewer Calories" actually means the product must have at least 25% less calories per serving.

The term "Light" used on package labeling has absolutely nothing to do with fat, sugar, or anything else. If a product "has been a long history of use of the term," then it can keep using it regardless of nutritional content.

Any product with "organic" on its packaging or display materials must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. "100 Percent Organic" products must show an ingredient list, the name and address of the handler (bottler, distributor, importer, manufacturer, packer, processor) of the finished product, and the name and seal of the organic certifier. These products should contain no chemicals, additives, synthetics, pesticides or genetically engineered substances.

"USDA Organic" products must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, and the name of the organic certifier.

"Made With Organic" products must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. The label must contain a list that identifies the organic, as well as the non-organic, ingredients in the product, along with the name of the organic certifier.