Are there any special considerations when cooking with organic ingredients?

Although thousands of additives can be added to conventional foods, only about 40 additives produced in agriculture and 65 synthetic and non-synthetic products from non-agricultural production are allowed in organic foods and only after receiving adequate evaluation by experts. The use of these ingredients in organic packaged foods is allowed only if there is no natural or organic alternative. In general, organic food additives are considered safer than regular food additives, and there are far fewer of them. But as you'll see below, they're not without problems.

Look for labels such as Soil Association. This is the reference standard for organic labeling. As some ingredients are not available organically, a list of non-organic food ingredients is allowed; however, all artificial colors and sweeteners are completely prohibited in foods labeled as organic. Contrary to popular belief, organic food refers to agricultural production, not to a specific guide related to nutrition or health.

For a product to bear the USDA organic label, a third party must verify that at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. The phrase made with organic ingredients means that at least 70% of the ingredients used are counted as organic. You can search for the identity of the certifier on a packaged product to verify that the organic product meets USDA organic standards. USDA-certified organic foods are grown and processed in accordance with federal guidelines that address, among many factors, soil quality, animal husbandry practices, pest and weed control, and the use of additives.

Unfortunately, there are currently no variants of certified organic xanthan gum, but some brands may not be verified by the GMO Project. Some population studies show a correlation between buying organic food and better health, but it's important to consider the other factors involved in buying organic food, such as lifestyle and socioeconomic status. The organic movement promotes healthier soil and it is logical to think that, in the long term, organic agriculture is better for overall soil quality. Organic food is cheaper when purchased directly from a farmer or producer, whether through a checkout system, a farmer's market, or a farm store.

Between nutrition information, ingredient lists and dietary statements on food packaging, “organic” could appear as just another piece of information to be deciphered when buying food. Ascorbic acid is considered largely non-toxic and is soluble in water, meaning it is not stored in the body. Unfortunately, most of us cannot access organic food directly from the producer and therefore tends to be more expensive than the basic non-organic equivalent of supermarkets. Organic product labels must be reviewed and approved by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before they are used in the market.

Products can be called organic if it is certified that they grew in soil to which no prohibited substances were applied during the three years prior to harvest. Food companies must constantly provide supporting documentation in order to use the USDA organic seal. This partnership agreement does not constitute an approval of any product or organization that supports IFIC or the International Food Information Council Foundation.

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