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Are organic foods healthier or safer than regular food?
Organically and conventionally produced foods are virtually the same.42 Researchers across the globe have compared organic and conventional foods for nutritional differences, but consistent answers have not been found. Some studies have shown higher levels of some nutrients in organic food, while others have found higher levels of nutrients in food produced using conventional methods.43 All agricultural food products – meat, eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and others – are rich in nutrients and part of Canada’s Food Guide.
Whether organically or conventionally produced, all food in Canada must meet the same food safety standards. While pesticide residues can be found on food from both production systems, federal regulations limit residues to levels far below the amount that could potentially pose a health concern.44 Regardless of how the food you choose has been grown, you can be con dent that it is a good choice.
Katelyn Thom
Food labels and claims – what do they really mean?
The beauty of the Canadian food system
is the amazing variety of food options from which to choose. Food labels and marketing, however, can be misleading
at times. It’s up to you to decide what you want to buy, but sometimes it pays to do a little research when it comes to food labels and what some of them mean.
For example:
1. What is “natural” meat?
All meat is natural since it comes from animals and is not manufactured. According to government de nitions, the only meat that can legally be labelled “natural” is meat raised without ANY human intervention of any kind. This rule means that only meat from animals living in the wild, like deer, moose, bear, and other wild game, may properly be referred to as “natural”. Companies can, however, use the term “natural” to describe  avour.45
2. What about meat free of hormones?
There is no such thing as hormone- free meat. All animals and plants produce hormones naturally, so all meat, including that from organically raised animals, will contain naturally- occurring hormone levels. Additionally, the use of synthetic hormones is only permitted in some beef production (see page 31 for more), and cannot be used to raise any other type of livestock.
3. What does the term “raised without the use of antibiotics” mean?
In order to display the term “raised without the use of antibiotics”, an animal must not have received any antibiotics at any time. In addition, no antibiotics can be administered to the mother of the animal. Any animal that receives antibiotics to manage a health issue will not be eligible to be sold with the term ‘raised without the use of antibiotics’.
4. What does gluten-free mean?
Gluten is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and foods made with these grains. Gluten must be avoided by people who have
celiac disease (about one per cent of Canadians), and those with gluten sensitivity (six per cent), but gluten
is not problematic for the rest of the population. In grocery stores, products labelled “gluten-free” are not any healthier; they are just made with ingredients that don’t include gluten.46
Courtesy of Grain Farmers of Ontario
The Real Dirt on Farming 27

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