Always free range: eat organic

September 14, 2018 6:19 am Published by Leave your thoughts

We don’t sell meat, eggs or milk at Naturally Good Food. But some of our amazing dried goods do contain milk and eggs – and when they’re classed as organic, as most of them are, these ingredients will always be 100% free range. It matters to us!

At NGF, we’re certified by the Soil Association for our organic packing. The Association is the regulatory body in the UK for organic food. It has counterparts across the world, all applying the very highest of standards to organic food. In this country, Soil Association standards cover crops and livestock. For the latter, there are strict regulations governing living conditions, feed quality, the use of antibiotics, transport and slaughter. Animals raised organically enjoy, according to the Association, ‘the very highest welfare standards of farmed animals’.

Living conditions

Organic animals must be truly free range. They must have access to pasture (when weather and ground conditions permit) and plenty of space. All of this helps to reduce stress and disease and allows them to feed as they were intended to, on a diet that’s as natural as possible.

Feed quality

When not simply munching on grass (and other pasture crops), organic animals won’t be eating feed containing any genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The use of GMOs is banned in organic farming, including in animal feed. The grass and pasture crops themselves will be lovely and clean – only natural fertilisers are used in organic farming and the use of pesticides is heavily restricted.

No unnecessary antibiotics

Farm animals on an organic system cannot be routinely given antibiotics. This is great news for our own health, as it prevents the spread of unnecessary antibiotic resistance through the food chain.

Holy cow!

Well, if not ‘holy’, then certainly ‘revered’. Milk is perhaps the organic ingredient you’re most likely to find in the processed food sold at Naturally Good Food, so it makes sense to take a closer look at the standards for organic dairy farming.

On organic farms, cows spend much of their lives outdoors, grazing naturally on a diet of grass and clover. Their diet must, to meet the regulations, be a minimum of 60% grass-based, including fresh or dried fodder, roughage or silage. It goes without saying, of course, that organic cows themselves eat a diet that’s 100% organic.

According to the Soil Association, organic cows spend an average of 215 days outside, which beats the average level achieved even by non-organic ‘free range’ cows. Some non-organic cows spend all their lives indoors – which is prohibited under organic standards. When cows are brought indoors because of bad weather, organic standards dictate that they are housed in ‘well-bedded spacious yards’.

Organic cows aren’t pushed to their milk-producing limits in the way that some non-organic cows are. That’s one reason why average yields in organic milk production are around 20% below those in intensive production.

But what milk production lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. Organic milk is clean, delicious and bursting with nutrients. According to the Soil Association, no other system of farming produces milk with a higher level of nutrients, including vital Omega 3 fatty acids.

Transport and slaughter

No-one really wants to read much about the transportation and slaughter of farm animals – but it’s reassuring to know that the Soil Association have very specific rules governing these aspects too, to maintain good health and reduce stress to the animals. In dairy (and other) farming, they’ve instituted standards relating to:

  • the unnecessary slaughter of newborn male calves
  • care for veal calves
  • the practices of feeding on maternal milk, weaning and keeping animals in family groups
  • the promotion of natural herding instincts
  • companionship for animals

What’s the future?

The Soil Association is at pains to point out that no system of farming is perfect – and that they continue to search for improvements. Here’s what they say about their current work:

‘We are at the forefront…working with farmers, researchers and policymakers to drive progress in the right direction. Through the AssureWel partnership, we are working to improve the welfare of all dairy cows through the use of Welfare Outcome Assessment. These assessments are now carried out across the dairy industry to highlight when management is not delivering good welfare. We are also a partner in Labelling Matters, a campaign to ensure that all milk and dairy products are labelled clearly so that consumers can make an informed choice at the supermarket.’

Naturally Good Food: our organic role

We’re proud to stock a great range of organic food at Naturally Good Food. We’re best known for our organic basics – single ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, grains and oils, as well as our organic toiletries and household goods. It’s in our wonderful selection of (lightly) processed organic food that you’ll find ingredients like organic milk and eggs. They’re always free range – and always the very best.

Naturally Good Reads v2

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in:

This post was written by Yzanne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *