Eating Green, what does it all mean?
Posted December 3, 2008on:
There are so many different terms that relate to food and being green: as organic, sustainable, natural, local, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, free range and grass-fed. But what do they all mean? What is the difference?
Definitions taken from foodnetwork.com
Organic: ”In organic farming, foods are produced according to certain standards that protect the environment. Crops are grown without the use of most pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, human waste or sewer sludge. Animals are reared without antibiotics or growth hormones.”
Sustainability: “Is a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged; of or relating to a life style involving the use of sustainable methods.”
Natural : ”Natural refers to meat and poultry that contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. There is no certification and because a food is called “natural,” it doesn’t mean that farm animals were raised organically.”
Locally Grown: “Locally grown refers to crops produced no more than 250 miles from where they’re purchased. The emphasis is on seasonal, fresh produce, meats and dairy products but these crops may have been raised with pesticides.”
Antibiotic-Free: “The term “antibiotic-free” is unregulated but producers can label foods “no antibiotics administered” or “raised without antibiotics,” which means animals were raised entirely without the substances. Concerns have been raised that antibiotic use in cattle causes antibiotic resistant bacteria to develop, threatening human health.”
Hormone-Free: “For pork and chicken, the label “hormone free” is meaningless; these substances are banned when raising pigs and chickens. Beef may carry a “no hormones administered” label but no outside authority currently certifies this claim. Controversy has arisen over the artificial hormone rBGH which increases milk production. The U.S. is one of the few countries to approve its use; others have banned it because of concerns over human and animal health.”
Free Range : “Chickens that aren’t confined to cages and are granted access to the outdoors are called “free range.” But the USDA only requires limited outdoor time; conditions can be crowded and dirty and there’s no outside monitoring.”
Grass-Fed : “Cattle raised largely on grass and hay are referred to as “grass-fed.” No government regulations or inspections apply to the term and these cattle may not be organic. Since cows’ stomachs more easily digest grass than grain, it is a more natural, humane and antibiotic-free way to raise cattle.”
So what are the advantages of eating green?
- less impact on the environment
- the animals enjoy a better life
- organic farmers use less energy, resources, and no pesticides
- contains no toxins
- “According to a leading microbiologist and nutritionist, Dr. Robert O. Young, organic produce contains as much as 300% more nutrients than non-organic.”
- you won’t be eating genetically modified foods
- it tastes better