When you buy an organic product, it is important to make sure that it is guaranteed as such. How? By checking the labeling. It is the food manufacturers who prepare our food, so we don't really know what we eat anymore! However, they are obliged to share with us some mandatory information about the preparation of their food products.
Unfortunately, most of the time we don't even check what ingredients our food is made of. However, I advise you to be wary and check the food labels of the products you buy carefully. Reading labels has become a major step forward that allows consumers to avoid being fooled by beautiful marketing slogans and regain control of their health.
How to recognize an organic product?
To recognize an organic product, it is enough to make sure that its label contains: the AB logo.
The words “organic” or “organic”, always accompanied by a reference to the body that certified the product in the form of its code number and/or name. If we are dealing with a product containing less than 95% organic ingredients, then it cannot display the AB logo and its labeling must specify:
- What are the organic ingredients used in its composition,
- The total percentage of organic ingredients in relation to the total quantity of its ingredients of agricultural origin.
The statement “From Organic Farming” guarantees that the product (meat or milk) is made from animals fed with at least 90% organic food and 100% non-GMO food. This mention also guarantees the implementation of agronomic and breeding practices that respect natural balances, the environment, and animal welfare. Organic farming products are rigorously controlled throughout the supply chain by independent bodies and accredited by the State.
How to decipher the ingredient list?
– On the labeling of processed products, ingredients are listed in descending order of importance, with those of agricultural origin in general first.
– The list of ingredients also includes food additives, added to preserve or improve the characteristics of a product (preservation, taste, appearance, color, etc.). Additives are indicated either in words or by their code (letter E followed by three or four digits).
– In organic farming, the number of authorized additives is very limited (47 against 300 in conventional farming) and most of them are of agricultural or natural origin. Only those whose use is essential for the preparation of certain processed foods (e.g. pectin for the gelation of jams) are authorized for organic use.
– The fortification with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants… is prohibited in organic farming, except if required by law (e.g. baby food jars).
The objective for processors of organic products is therefore to use formulation and processing processes that ensure that the nutritional qualities present in raw materials are maintained at all stages of production.
The list of ingredients used in the development of the product.
They give you information on the energy intake and the number of nutrients present in the product. They are generally indicated for a 100 g (ml) serving – which is in a way the reference – or per specific serving (e.g. 22 g, 1 biscuit). This information concerns the caloric intake of the food (measured in Kcal or Kjoul), its levels of sugars, fats, proteins, fibers, salt, etc. In some cases, the amount of micronutrients, such as vitamins or minerals, is even available. Be careful, these nutritional indications are a lot of blah, blah, blah. It's still numbers that don't say if you have a quality product in your hands! However, there are a few tricks to know to select the best one at a glance when you shop!
Check the order of the ingredients
Few people know this, but the order of ingredients says a lot about the quality of the product you have in front of you. Indeed, ingredients are classified in a decreasing way according to their importance (their weight) in the composition of the product. In concrete terms, the first of the list will be the ingredient most used in the development of the product and the last will be the least present. You must, therefore, pay attention to the first ingredients on the list to get an idea of the quality of a product: if the first ingredients are suspicious, be careful.