About Organic Food | Malta
Organic foods refer to foods produced using methods of organic farming – this is ‘traditional’ farming, without the use of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It also extends beyond fruit and vegetables to farm animals: Organic meat, eggs and dairy have been produced from animals that have not been fed growth hormones or antibiotics, and that are grass-fed during grazing seasons. Organic foods are also not processed using chemical food additives, solvents or irradiation.
In a way it is very similar to growing your own private garden, in that you have peace of mind as to what is going into your food and what it is absorbing, however as an industry it is very highly regulated. Since it is a profit making industry, there are also some companies that try to use the organic label without adhering to the regulations of actual organic food. For this reason, it is important to check the ingredients in your foods, as well as keep up to date on reputable companies (and reputable supermarkets who stock high quality goods).
You may have noticed the increasing number of organic food on offer at the supermarket, especially organic baby food, as well as fruit and vegetables (also sometimes going under the label ‘bio’, but if they are truly organic will also have a certification on their packaging). This is partly due to the increasingly alarming studies on pesticides that have come out in recent years, and the EU’s stricter controls on pesticide use after determining that many of them are harmful to our health, and also partly due to people’s renewed commitment to pay greater awareness to what they put in their bodies (and especially their children’s bodies).
In Malta, pesticide use is very common, and while regulations have come into place to reduce the amounts used, people are starting to realize that we simply don’t know what effects these chemicals (whose purpose is to kill insects after all) is going to be further up in the food chain. As such, the organic food community has been growing rapidly. For information about organic food grown and produced in Malta, click here!
One of the arguments against organic food is that it is a lot more expensive than regular food, due to having a higher production cost, as well as longer growth periods for animals as they are not on growth hormones. However the cost will reduce over time as more farmers and individuals adopt organic food, and more regulations come in against pesticides and insecticides (making the choice to go organic more viable for larger scale farmers). Fans of organic food attest to it tasting better, from apples that don’t have that waxy shiny layer, to tender grass-fed beef and creamy eggs, and while studies have been mixed, most people assume that consuming less chemicals is always going to be better for us, even if the foods don’t contain significantly higher level of nutrients.
How do I know if my food is organic:
For foods to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants and animals. Any food product sold as ‘organic’ falls under the EU regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008. This means that the product must have been produced to these regulations, and then inspected and certified by a certification body like the Soil Association. To learn more about how organic farming works, and how organic animals are raised, go here: Organic farming
All organic food must display the code number and prefix of the regulating body that certified it, as well as the EU’s organic logo. Organic products must meet all of the normal legal requirements for that product, meaning that just because it’s organic doesn’t mean that it hasn’t pasteurized, for example, in the case of dairy products.
Organic products are allowed to contain up to 5% non-organic food ingredients, as there are certain ingredients that are not available to be produced in an organic method. The ingredients used must come from a list of pre-approved non organic food ingredients. There are also certain non-food ingredients such as salt, water, and a certain number of additives that are allowed, and in some cases legally required. All artificial sweeteners and colorings are banned in organic food, as is all genetically modified food. The labels on organic products must identify any non-organic ingredients in the ingredients panel in the same exact lettering as the organic ingredients (so as not to deceive customers)
Which organic foods are really worth it:
If, like many, you want to enjoy organic food but find the cost prohibitive, the Environmental Working Group releases its annual list of “dirtiest” and “cleanest” fruit and vegetables. The dirtiest are the top fruits and vegetables with the highest residues of pesticides, and therefor worth buying organic. The cleanest are those that absorb the least chemicals, and therefor not worth buying organic.
The Dirty Dozen (to buy organic):
- Cherry Tomatos
- Hot Peppers
- Bell Peppers
The Clean Fifteen (No need to buy organic):
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Remember that pesticides and insecticides removed from use or made illegal will continue to linger in the soil for years to come, so the fruit and vegetables that most readily absorb contaminants will continue to have residues of chemicals no longer in use for quite some time.
In Malta, we are also lucky to have baby food jars and baby food snacks that are organic readily available, and reasonably priced. So if you’re in a rush and need to pick up some fruit puree snack packs, or a jarred lunch, at least you know that you what you are feeding your baby will contain no salts, no sugars, no chemicals or preservatives.
To learn more about organic food, environmental regulations and what is happening in the EU regarding how your food is produced, check out the following two links:
Where to buy Organic Food in Malta
You can buy a wide range of organic foods at Park Towers Supermarkets in St Julian’s and St Venera. Park Towers Supermarkets not only stocks organic fresh fruit and vegetables, but they also stock one of the largest ranges of organic baby food products, from all the best brands that produce organic baby food in the UK.
Park Towers Supermarkets | St Venera | San Giljan Malta
Park Towers – St Venera
(+356) 21480807 / (+356) 27480807
Park Towers Supermarkets | Organic Food on the Map | St Venera | San Giljan Malta
About Park Towers Supermarkets, supplier of Carrefour Products
We believe that shopping should be an experience, so we take great pride in being a part of making that experience the best it can be. We make our vision your reality by supplying you with the widest choice at the best prices, as well as the friendliest staff around.