The most expensive foods as of date are organics but they are also claimed as the healthiest. Many marketers are encouraged to use the word organic as selling proposition. However, the use of the term is regulated.
To use the word organic, the merchant must apply a license under regulating agencies like US National Organic Program and Organic Certification Center of the Philippines. I never know if the authorities have enough power to punish violators.
Basic requirements for organic certification:
1. Plants. Use of chemical fertilizers like urea, sodium nitrate, ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate, ammonia and ammonium chloride are not permitted. All fertilizers should be of of natural sources. These are grasses, leaves, twigs, three trunks and animal manure. The common source of manure are poultry and piggery farms but they must conform to condition for animal raising. GMO plants (genetically modified organisms) are not considered as organic.
Restrict the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicide. Pest infestation are controlled by natural means. Some of these are the use of predator insects, manual worm removal, planting season interval and natural pesticides.
2. Animals. Prevent the use of over the counter medicine, formulated feeds, and growth hormones. The good examples are backyard goats and cows. The main food of these animals is grass so there is no need for chemically formulated feeds, drugs and growth boosters.
3. Processed Foods. Processing restrict the use of any chemical preservatives. Artificial flavors and colors are not permitted. Even sugar should be organic so white sugar is not exempted. Crude processed brown and muscovado sugar may do. All other ingredients must be of organic source.
Organic farming is a real pain. It is hard to follow due to following reasons:
1. Organic fertilizers contain only small amount of nutrients. Maximum harvest can be achieved through inorganic fertilizer application.
2. The best and quickest way to control pest infestation is by spraying chemical pesticides. A bunch or army worms can eat a hectare of pechay overnight.
3. Natural medicines for animals are rare.
4. It is very costly to produce organically processed foods. In addition, shelf life will be very short.
Sometimes I wonder if the organic foods on groceries shelf or expo are really organics. In case you are really picky and want real organic. Then its time to plant your own fruits and vegetables, raise your own poultry and livestock and process your own food.