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Going organic

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on 16 June 2008
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Want to take better care of yourself and your health while respecting the environment? Going organic means going from being a careless consumer to being responsible about your purchases, from your food and cleaning products to beauty buys. Here’s our advice on going organic!

Why go organic?
You don't have to be an eco warrior or live on a farm to go organic. More and more people are turning to a new way of consuming 'naturally' to the point at which supply is struggling to cope with the demand for organic produce. Although organic produce started out in the food industry, you can now find organic cleaning products, cosmetics, clothes and furnishings. Organic is more than just a trend: it means adopting behaviour that respects natural biodiveristy and is humane. In other words, taking care of nature and of your health by only (or almost only) consuming things that do not contain chemical products. Living organically is adopting a responsible and more ethical attitude, for the health of the planet and future generations. For some, it’s also a way of getting more authentic produce into their diet and their lives.

Organic labels
Products that contain 95% ingredients from organic agriculture are called organic. This means, among other conditions, that the production, processing and conservation does not involve the use of chemical substances (fertiliser and other pesticides) and uses recycled raw materials. Don't confuse organic with sugar free or diet products.

The term organic is defined by law, therefore all organic food production and processing is governed by a strict set of rules. Any organic product sold in the UK must display a certification symbol or number. When you see a symbol or number you can be sure that the product complies with the minimum government standards as set by UKROFS (UK Register of Organic Food Standards).

Anyone involved in the production of organic products must be registered with one of the certification bodies. All of these bodies have been approved and are constantly monitored by UKROFS.

Just to make it a little bit more confusing, there are several certification bodies in the UK, each with their own symbol and code number. These are as follows:

- UK 1 UKROFS
- UK 2 Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G)
- UK 3 Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA)
- UK 4 Organic Food Federation (OFF)
- UK 5 Soil Association Certification (SA Cert)
- UK 6 Demeter/Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Association (BDAA)
- UK 7 Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA)
- UK 9 Organic Trust Ltd
- UK 10 CMi Certification

Health benefits
Organic defenders are convinced that the effects on health are real. In reality, recent studies have shown that the positive effects are essentially seen on the environment, so it's each to their own. Going organic is a way of taking care of the planet and feeling better in yourself.

Organic products in all forms
Going organic also means spending more (20 to 30% more in some cases). This is simply because organic agriculture demands higher production costs and more labour for lower yields. The choice of organic products is vast:

- Organic food
Meat, chicken, eggs, diary produce, fish, vegetables and even animal biscuits... almost all foods come in organic versions and have their methods clearly labelled (reduced or preservative-free, colour-free, made from simple harvesting methods and environmentally-friendly methods, for example).

- Organic beauty
Organic products can also be found in the bathroom, nourishing face and body creams, make-up, 100% natural cotton, shower gel, toothpaste, the objective for the consumer is clear. She wishes to benefit from the power of plants and their active ingredients in their integrality while preserving the authenticity of the raw materials. In addition, the packaging of these products is often modest and recyclable of course. Finally, these products will have never been tested on animals!

- Organic for kids
Nappies, toileteries and organic products are also availbale for babies and children. For mothers concerned about the planet and about the wellbeing of their child, these products are ideal. Organically-made products are softer and less aggressive in their texture and composition than standard products.

- Organic cleaning
Detergents, washing-up liquid, air freshener and other cleaning products also come in organic form. Cleaning chemicals are one of the worst things for the planet, and synthetic products can be replaced with natural ingredients (beeswax, vegetable oils etc.). If you want to live organically, it’s best to start with organic cleaning products! They're made of more natural products and have recyclable packaging.

- Organic fabric
Recently, clothing brands have also jumped on the organic band wagon. You can get all sorts of clothing made organically from raw materials, with organic cotton the most fashionable at the minute.

Where can you find organic products?
There’s no lack of shops! Buy organic at markets and small fruit and vegetable sellers. Specialist shops also exist, such as People Tree. Some big brands only sell their products by post. And supermarkets like M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury's have their own ranges of organic products.

by Sarah Horrocks

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