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Food and Health An Overview of the Organic Industry

With the opening of Whole Foods grocery store down on Sand Lake and Turkey Lake Rd, and Publix having just bought about 50 Albertson's grocery stores, and the rumor that the Albertsons on Dr Phillips is going to be a "Green Wise", the healthy food industry is becoming more and more important to the consumer. So I thought I would give you an overview of the entire industry. When we speak of 'organic' we are talking about standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping. It generally involves 1. Avoidance of synthetic chemicals in the production of food 2.

Growing food on Farmlands that have been free of chemical for at least three years 3. In farms where both organic and non-organic are grown there must be strict separation. 4. Strict on site inspections and meticulous record keeping.

In the U.S there are three levels of "organicity". If all of the ingredients are 100% organically grown then you can use the label "100% organic" If the ingredients are 95% organically grown then you can use the label "organic" If 70% of the products of an item are grown organically then you can use the label "made with organic ingredients" Do not confuse the word "natural' or "authentic" with "organic". Most 'natural and authentic foods' are grown with herbicides and pesticides.

In looking at labels from foreign counties the European Union and Japan have state mandated strict standards but even within the E.U Sweden, England and Ireland have their own standards. Australia, Canada and India have private agencies which control their accreditation. Organic foods are more expensive because of the time intensive systems necessary to produce them, and they do NOT get Federal subsidies. In a recent large survey consumers rated "eating healthy foods" as the number one important thing in their live style. This superseded weight management, vitamin intake and exercise.

As far as healthy foods were concerned, consumers wanted whole grains, reduced trans fats, and reduction in cholesterol above "organic" foods which came in last at sixteenth place. Interestingly "natural" came in ninth which technically is far more unhealthy than organic, and in the same study 71% of consumers said they more concerned with pesticides than anything else. Perception (no matter how wrong) is everything. The entire back to nature movement has also hit the nutraceutical and cosmetic industry. We now have cosmetic lines that are "farmaceuticals" "organoceuticals" and "greenceuticals" to mention only a few.

But who knows how to really read a label anyway. Parabens, which are preservatives, have been shown to have estrogenic function and with breast cancer rates now at one in nine who needs more estrogens? These have also been banned by the European Union. Sunscreens have also been implicated with carcinogens particularly diethanolamine, DEA and TEA. The Aveeno botanical cosmaceutical line contains some very good and safe ingredients. Copyright (c) 2008 Roger Murray.

Dr. Roger Murray, M.D. is an Orlando, Fla. based cosmetic surgeon, specializing in minimally invasive cosmetic surgery and is an expert in scar minimization techniques, aesthetics and anti-aging. For more information, please visit http://www.themurraycenter.com


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