Want to know more about what it means to go organic? Here's what to look out for when choosing what's best for your family...
We all want what’s best for our babies and children, and if you’re one of the growing number of parents in Singapore interested in switching to certified organic foods for your family, we’re with you. We think it’s safe to say you’re interested in what goes into your child’s body and how it’s made – is it hormone-free? GMO-free? Free from harmful chemicals, pesticides or herbicides? Was it made in a way that’s sustainable for the environment? What’s the difference?
We’re lucky that organically farmed fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry are more readily available than ever here in Singapore. For our little ones, baby and toddler food and certified organic milk or formula is now at our fingertips. Choosing high-quality foods that provide good nutrition for your family is paramount, so here are the need-to-knows to help you make the choice that’s right for you…
What makes it organic?
If you’re interested in organic, it may be because you want to reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides and herbicides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. You might be looking for products that support animal welfare, or are made in a more sustainable way for the environment.
When it comes to organic foods, you’re choosing a farming process: organic fruit and vegetables are produced without artificial fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. (It’s important to know all of these are still used in organic farming; the difference is in the origin.) Meat, milk and eggs come from animals raised without growth hormones and antibiotics, whose feed is 100% organic. In the EU and Australia, organic farming regulations ensure that animals have access to natural air and light, and must be able to go outdoors.
At the supermarket, make sure it’s certified organic
Organic farming is on the rise here in Singapore – and we’re loving all of the farmers’ markets popping up with local, seasonal produce. At the supermarket, we can pick up organic goods from around the world, so to ensure what you’re paying for is made according to strict standards, look out for products labelled as certified organic, from the likes of Australian Organic, The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA), ECOCERT, the EU certification body, and US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Is it better for you?
Studies are ongoing to identify differences in nutritional quality between conventionally produced and organic foods, but recently, a study by researchers at Newcastle University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that certified organic milk and meat contained about 50 per cent more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced alternatives.
Do you need to go 100% organic?
Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15? If your concern is reducing your family’s exposure to pesticides, it’s a good start to know which fruits and vegetables are known to contain the most pesticide residue, and therefore which ones you should prioritise buying certified organic. We like the 2017 list from the Environmental Working group, whose research has been instrumental in ensuring that harmful pesticides are kept out of the food system in the US:
The Dirty Dozen (buy organic)
Strawberries; Spinach; Nectarines; Apples; Peaches; Pears; Cherries; Grapes; Celery; Tomatoes; Sweet capsicum; Potatoes.
The Clean 15
Sweet corn; Avocado; Pineapple; Cabbage; Onion; Sweet peas; Papaya; Asparagus; Mangoes; Eggplant; Honeydew melon; Kiwi; Rockmelon; Cauliflower; Grapefruit.
What exactly does it mean when a product is GMO-free? According to the World Health Organisation, Genetically Modified Organisms are “plants, animals or microorganisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.”
The safety of GMO foods is widely debated, with concerns including the potential to provoke allergic reactions. But here’s a tip: buying certified organic products is the best way to ensure that what you give your family is GMO-free.
Want to try out Similac Organic for your baby over six months old? Claim your $15 trial voucher here. Similac Organic is now available at selected Cold Storage, FairPrice, FairPrice Finest, Fairprice Xtra, Guardian and Market Place stores.
This post is sponsored by Abbott Nutrition.