The words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ have become buzz words in the food and drink industry and as a consumer it is good to take a step back and look at what these words actually mean.
Natural and organic are not synonymous – organic produce is heavily regulated by the EU commission and products bearing the EU organic logo have undergone extensive testing. The UK FDA (Foods Standards Agency) has published some criteria for products claiming to be ‘all natural’, but the definition is considered to be slightly vague and ‘natural’ products do not require the same level of testing as their organic counterparts.
The basic requirements for a product to be advertised as organic are as follows:
No synthetic chemical input such as fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, irradiation and the use of sewage sludge.
No human sewage sludge fertiliser in cultivation.
Use of farmland that has been free from prohibited synthetic chemicals for a number of years.
So why is CELIA organic ?
CELIA lager contains only three ingredients – malted barley, hops and water. All ingredients are locally sourced and both the malted barley and hops are produced by farmers that are certified organic. In addition, it means that CELIA does not contain any additives.
For those who are wondering how additives are used in beer, there is a great BBC article on the topic:
Examples of additives used in the mass production of cheap lager and ale are beta-glucanase and propylene glycol alginate. The former is used to speed up the brewing process and the latter to help stabilize the beer’s head of foam. Neither of which sound very appealing!
Why are organic products on the whole more expensive?
Without the use of synthetic chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides it can be harder for organic producers to obtain the same yields as their non-organic counterparts. Similarly, organic farming is often more labour intensive.
What are the benefits of buying organic?
Little research has been done to directly compare the health of those following an all-organic diet and those who do not. It is however widely accepted that limiting the amount of synthetic pesticides and chemicals ingested in the body can only be a good thing.
The argument for buying organic does not only center around the health of the consumer, but also promotes sustainable food production. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. This can be achieved, for example, by using more sophisticated crop rotations as opposed to using chemical weed killers. It is said that organic farming results in higher levels of carbon being stored in the soil and if this was common practice in the UK, we could offset at least 23% of agriculture’s current greenhouse emissions.
We are always told that it is important to know what goes into your body and buying organic is a simple of way of avoiding potentially harmful ingredients and supporting sustainable farming.