ORGANIC SWEETENER

Quick Facts About Organic Sweeteners

 

  • Organic sweeteners must be sourced from plants grown according to the NOP standards. Farmers must use practices that maintain or enhance the soil and water quality while conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. They are inspected by the USDA or a certifying agency following a long list of strict rules.

 

  • Organic farming practices include crop rotation. Genetically modified (GM) seeds, chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and sewage sludge are not allowed. Organic does not automatically mean "pesticide-free" or "chemical-free". A variety of sprays and powders are allowed. Still, such substances must not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. To draw a comparison: organic farmers have restricted access to 27 synthetic pest control products while over 900 are registered for use in conventional farming.

 

  • A common misconception is that organic sweeteners are unrefined and minimally processed. The claim "organic" in fact, relates not only to the way a crop is grown, but also how it is processed, handled, and packaged. Just like growing organic crops, organic processing is regulated by the NOP, and manufacturers of organic sweeteners must comply with it.

 

  • To be claimed as organic sweetener and display the USDA's organic seal on the package label, the seller also must be certified by a NOP-authorized agent or the USDA. The name of the certifying agency must be stated on the product's label. People who sell or label a sweetener "organic" when they know it does not meet USDA standards can be fined up to $17,952 for each violation

  • What about certified organic honey? I haven't found any organic honey made in the USA, but have seen a variety imported from remote tropical regions around the world. That's because, according to one seller, the beekeeping, extraction, and storage of certified organic honey must be located in isolated areas. Foraging bee colonies have to be at least 2 miles (straight-line flight) away from any source of pesticide or herbicide contamination, such as conventional (non-organic) crops. As of 2020, there are no organic standards specific to honey in the U.S., only recommendations from 2010.  

  • Another common misconception is that certified organic sweeteners are healthier than their conventional (non-organic) counterparts. Organic turbinado sugar does not provide more nutritive value than regular turbinado. Organic stevia leaf extract is not healthier than conventional stevia extracts.

  • If you consider important protecting the environment and would even pay more for a sweetener produced --- sourced, processed, packaged, handled, inspected --- following a long list of strict rules, organic sweeteners are for you. Organic sweeteners are not safer for us than the conventional ones, but they are definitely safer and better for the environment.

Copyright © 2020  WhatSugar Blog by Adriane Campos 

Everywhere in the USA | Based in Richmond,VA | Email me at info@whatsugar.com

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