Reading the label: Frequently asked questions about organic products


We offer answers to the most common questions about organic products and their impact on human health

Question: Why are organic foods more expensive?

Answer: In fact, the cost of organic food is going down, although consumers, in general, have a different opinion. Of course, organic products cannot cost as much as conventional products, given the time, labor and financial costs of producers invested in their production. However, it should not be understood that organic food is exclusively for the wealthy. The circle of buyers of organic food products can become much wider if people plan their budget wisely, including the ability to find free funds by reducing the consumption of non-caloric foods in their diet.

Question: Can we trust imported organic food?

Answer: So that we can be sure that organic products imported from other countries have been grown and produced in accordance with standards adequate to those adopted in the United Kingdom, the Soil Conservation Association and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements attempts are being made to create equivalent international standards. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements unites about 700 international member organizations in more than 100 countries and has its own accreditation committee responsible for accrediting certification organizations in the member countries of the federation and deciding on the approval of standards developed by local organizations. Some UK supermarkets have made a commitment to only buy organic food products from abroad that have been approved by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. You can check with your organic food store to see if they follow this policy.

Question: What is mechanically separated meat and how do I know if my products contain it?

Answer: Mechanically separated meat, or MOM, is meat in the form of small pieces that are sucked off the bones of a butchered carcass under very, very high pressure, after the primal pieces have been cut from it. Most often, obtaining meat using this method is used for chicken and pork, and in the latter case, up to 5% of additional meat can be obtained in this way. MOM is added to a variety of foods, from hamburgers to sausages, and it can also be used to cook turkey, chicken, or ham. In this case, the labeling of the product must state that the product is “made” or “formed” from turkey, chicken or pork, labeling them as “meat slices” is prohibited. MOM is not added to organic meat products.

Question: I heard that food manufacturers can add water to chicken and beef. Is this allowed, and how do I know how much water they put in there?

Answer: This does not happen in organic meat products. The product label should mention the addition of water only if it contains more than 5%. In the event that the amount of added water is less, the manufacturer is not obliged to indicate it in the column of the product composition. Some pieces of ham contain up to 25% water, which is added along with food additives such as polyphosphates and gum during the ham compaction step. In this case, the appropriate details must be provided on the label.

organic products

Brief Findings on Organic Foods

  • It is still not completely known whether organic food is more beneficial from a nutritional point of view. What we do know, however, is that organic foods contain less pesticides and residual antibiotics. In addition, organic products are environmentally friendly and produced according to the highest animal welfare standards.
  • Organic food products are usually more expensive, but the cost of their production is decreasing. The more people buy organic products, the more they will appear on the shelves of stores and the more competitive their price will be.

Reading the label: organic food

Reading the Label: Nutritional Additives in Organic Foods

Source: Adapted from How to Read Labels by Amanda Ursell

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