January 2003
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Organic labelling rules take effect
By Alanna W., Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, Courtenay, BC

After twelve years, rules governing the labelling of organically produced foods are finally taking effect. Foods that have government approved labels are now starting to show up in grocery stores. To any organic shopper, this is a great delight. The laws that are being posted will assure consumers that they are indeed eating food that has been organically grown without anything "unnatural" being done to it during harvesting.

Yet, just because foods are organically grown, they can still contain organic fats and sugars and may still contain bacteria. At least something that is organically produced is more likely to contain lower levels of pesticide residues.

For something to be considered organic, the plants must be grown without the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The livestock must be fed with 100 percent organic feeds which must not include antibiotics or growth hormones. Most organic foods may not include genetically modified organisms (GMO's.) They also cannot be irradiated or fertilized with any sewage sludge.

But none of these restrictions apply to any conventional ingredients in products that contain less than 70 percent organic ingredients. This was appalling to supporters of organic production. To these people it seemed to cut short the "natural" notion.

These labelling rules are important to consumers and environmentalists alike. By producing organically the world will be cleaner and it will become a more environmentally friendly place to live. People sometimes take a great leap of faith by changing from one thing to another, but maybe this is one leap that is worth taking.

Originally published in the Isfeld Insider Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, Courtenay, BC


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