Today I posted an article my cousin sent me on my Facebook wall. She had just read my post about Cornucopia Institute’s recent investigation dubbed the “Organic Watergate” (rightly so) and the harmful ingredient carrageenan that is allowed in organic foods. The article I posted was entitled 38 Non-Organic Ingredients Found in USDA Organic Foods. Although dated 2007, I found the reasons for allowing these ingredients to be fascinating. A majority of the foods were allowed because no other substitute from an organic supplier was widely available or for economic reasons. Majority of the foods were allowed only after companies submitted specific petitions to the USDA to include them.
Because the article was outdated a bit, I thought it would be prudent to easily make available the whole list of ingredients that are currently legally allowed in organic food. While most of the agriculture and non-synthetic substances are not harmful to your body – some of them along with synthetic ingredients do alter your body’s alkalinity, making you more acidic. This matters, because an alkaline body avoids disease, repair cells, and removes free radicals/toxins more effectively.
I could spend days discussing each ingredient, but one synthetic ingredient that jumped out at me is cellulose – otherwise known as wood pulp. The amount of cellulose food companies can put in your food is not regulated by the FDA. Cellulose is used as filler to processed foods because it doesn’t contain calories or fat content and is cheap. Some common products that contain it are frozen waffles, shredded cheese, and salad dressings. Your body simply cannot use this ingredient at all nutritionally and lacks the enzymes to digest it. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to eat things that my system can’t process. I can’t believe companies are allowed to sell food we can’t even digest as humans!
This list hopefully serves as a reminder why it is so incredibly important to avoid overly processed foods even when they are certified organic and to check every single label on everything you buy. The products I share and support on my shop and the ones I use on a daily basis rarely if ever contain any of the below ingredients. And for the record I will ALWAYS choose an organic product vs. a conventional one.
You can view all the other ingredients that are allowed in actual production of organic products here, don’t get too crazy looking at that list either.
Full List of Non-Organic Ingredients Allowed in Organic Food
* List provided by Electronic Code of Federal Regulations – May 22, 2012
Non-Organic Agriculture Products Allowed:
- Casings, from processed intestines.
- Celery powder.
- Chia ( Salvia hispanica L. ).
- Colors derived from agricultural products.
- Annatto extract color—water and oil soluble.
- Beet juice extract color
- Beta-carotene extract color, derived from carrots
- Black currant juice color
- Black/Purple carrot juice color
- Blueberry juice color
- Carrot juice color
- Cherry juice color
- Chokeberry—Aronia juice color
- Elderberry juice color
- Grape juice color
- Grape skin extract color
- Paprika color —dried, and oil extracted.
- Pumpkin juice color
- Purple potato juice
- Red cabbage extract color
- Red radish extract color
- Saffron extract color
- Turmeric extract color
- Dillweed oil
- Fish oil —stabilized with organic ingredients or only with ingredients on the National List
- Fortified cooking wines.
- Galangal, frozen.
- Gums—water extracted only (Arabic; Guar; Locust bean; and Carob bean).
- Hops ( Humulus luplus ).
- Inulin-oligofructose enriched
- Kelp—for use only as a thickener and dietary supplement.
- Konjac flour
- Orange pulp, dried.
- Orange shellac-unbleached
- Pectin (high-methoxy).
- Peppers (Chipotle chile).
- Seaweed, Pacific kombu.
- Cornstarch (native).
- Rice starch, unmodified —for use in organic handling until June 21, 2009.
- Sweet potato starch—for bean thread production only.
- Tragacanth gum
- Turkish bay leaves.
- Wakame seaweed ( Undaria pinnatifida ).
- Whey protein concentrate
- Acids (Alginic; Citric—produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances; and Lactic).
- Animal enzymes—(Rennet—animals derived; Catalase—bovine liver; Animal lipase; Pancreatin; Pepsin; and Trypsin).
- Calcium carbonate.
- Calcium chloride.
- Calcium sulfate—mined.
- Dairy cultures.
- Diatomaceous earth—food filtering aid only.
- Egg white lysozyme
- Enzymes—must be derived from edible, nontoxic plants, nonpathogenic fungi, or nonpathogenic bacteria.
- Flavors, nonsynthetic sources only and must not be produced using synthetic solvents and carrier systems or any artificial preservative.
- Gellan gum —high-acyl form only.
- Glucono delta-lactone—production by the oxidation of D-glucose with bromine water is prohibited.
- L-Malic acid
- Magnesium sulfate, nonsynthetic sources only.
- Microorganisms—any food grade bacteria, fungi, and other microorganism.
- Nitrogen—oil-free grades.
- Oxygen—oil-free grades.
- Perlite—for use only as a filter aid in food processing.
- Potassium chloride.
- Potassium iodide.
- Sodium bicarbonate.
- Sodium carbonate.
- Tartaric acid—made from grape wine.
- Waxes—nonsynthetic (Carnauba wax; and Wood resin).
- Yeast—nonsynthetic, growth on petrochemical substrate and sulfite waste liquor is prohibited (Autolysate; Bakers; Brewers; Nutritional; and Smoked—nonsynthetic smoke flavoring process must be documented)
- Acidified sodium chlorite—Secondary direct antimicrobial food treatment and indirect food contact surface sanitizing. Acidified with citric acid only.
- Activated charcoal —only from vegetative sources; for use only as a filtering aid.
- Ammonium bicarbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
- Ammonium carbonate—for use only as a leavening agent.
- Ascorbic acid.
- Calcium citrate.
- Calcium hydroxide.
- Calcium phosphates (monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic).
- Carbon dioxide.
- Cellulose—for use in regenerative casings, as an anti-caking agent (non-chlorine bleached) and filtering aid.
- Chlorine materials—disinfecting and sanitizing food contact surfaces, Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (Calcium hypochlorite; Chlorine dioxide; and Sodium hypochlorite).
- Cyclohexylamine —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
- Diethylaminoethanol —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
- Ethylene—allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus.
- Ferrous sulfate—for iron enrichment or fortification of foods when required by regulation or recommended (independent organization).
- Glycerides (mono and di)—for use only in drum drying of food.
- Glycerin—produced by hydrolysis of fats and oils.
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Magnesium carbonate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
- Magnesium chloride—derived from sea water.
- Magnesium stearate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
- Nutrient vitamins and minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Quality Guidelines For Foods.
- Octadecylamine —for use only as a boiler water additive for packaging sterilization.
- Pectin (low-methoxy).
- Peracetic acid/Peroxyacetic acid —for use in wash and/or rinse water according to FDA limitations. For use as a sanitizer on food contact surfaces.
- Phosphoric acid—cleaning of food-contact surfaces and equipment only.
- Potassium acid tartrate.
- Potassium carbonate.
- Potassium citrate.
- Potassium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches during the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) production process.
- Potassium iodide—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
- Potassium phosphate—for use only in agricultural products labeled “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s)),” prohibited in agricultural products labeled “organic”.
- Silicon dioxide.
- Sodium acid pyrophosphate —for use only as a leavening agent.
- Sodium citrate.
- Sodium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.
- Sodium phosphates—for use only in dairy foods.
- Sulfur dioxide—for use only in wine labeled “made with organic grapes,” Provided, That, total sulfite concentration does not exceed 100 ppm.
- Tartaric acid—made from malic acid.
- Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (CAS # 7722–88–5)—for use only in meat analog products.
- Tocopherols—derived from vegetable oil when rosemary extracts are not a suitable alternative.
- Xanthan gum
Oh and btw – Pacific Natural Foods (the company who makes the Almond milk I used to buy) responded to me in regards to carrageenan in their products. They are reviewing the recent studies on the possible side effects and will make an informed decision once they do. If you are interested in their letter, I’ve pasted it below…hooray for companies paying attention!
Given recent coverage regarding the safety of Carrageenan in food, we understand your concerns over what this may mean for the health of your family.
There is much confusion surrounding food-grade Carrageenan and degraded Carrageenan, also known as Poligeenan, which is a chemically derived extract of Carrageenan. Poligeenan is created through a process called acid hydrolysis and because of this chemical process Poligeenan is considered toxic to the human body. Pacific Natural foods uses only food-grade Carrageenan.
Carrageenan is a natural stabilizer derived from red seaweed. The seaweed is gathered, quickly dried and baled to maintain quality. At the manufacturing site, the dried seaweed is ground and sieved to eliminate impurities, such as salt and sand. Following extensive washing, the seaweed undergoes a hot extraction process to separate the Carrageenan from the extraneous plant fiber.
When we develop products, our goal is to capture all of the health and nutrition nature has to offer. We use no unnecessary ingredients – each is selected to serve a purpose. We use Carrageenan as it’s an effective way to naturally “stabilize” our non-dairy beverages – it is fundamental in preventing natural separation, clumping and the settling of ingredients.
As a leader in natural and organic food for 25 years, we’re constantly searching for the safest, highest quality ingredients. Through our Certified to the Source program, we work with our suppliers to rigorously track all of our ingredients to ensure their integrity. We have been assured by our suppliers that the Carrageenan we source has not been contaminated with degraded Carrageenan (Poligeenan) and is safe for consumption.
We take seriously the additional claims made around what happens to the Carrageenan once digested. In light of this new focus on possible side effects, we are in the process of reviewing the publicly available studies and consulting with other industry experts. We will make an informed decision as we review all of the data.
We are eager to learn more about this issue and are appreciative that you have reached out to us with your concerns. It is important to us that your food not only tastes great, but is good for you. We want you to be as confident as we are in what you are consuming.
We hope this is helpful for you. Should you have additional questions please message me directly.
Be part of the change, if you know someone who could use this information- please share it with them!
Thanks for all your support,