By Sally Romero
Although organic foods are becoming more popular today as people discover their health benefits, many consumers do not think about the way that organic foods are packaged for shipping! Most containers, whether plastic, aluminum, or boxes, contain many elements that are far from organic. Chemicals included in these packages may affect the purity of these foods and should be considered when buying organic products and going green.
Here are some things to think about before you buy:
• Many organic foods are packaged in products that contain BPA, recycled materials, or other artificial products. Although the food is organic, its containers are usually not. BPA stands for Bisphenol-A, an organic compound used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, and in which some consumers have safety concerns.
• Some stores that sell organic foods require that the packaging also be organic. This is difficult and requires special orders on a frequent basis because of the absence of preservatives. Shipping rates of products rise substantially when products cannot be purchased in bulk, and this is the case for many organic goods.
• As many buyers know, organic products can have extreme benefits for children and families because they contain only the nutrients that they are grown with. Some people believe it keeps children from starting puberty too soon.
• Shipping rates can be higher for items packaged organically because the producer pays more to get the product to the store quickly. Stores have to pay more, so consequently, buyers pay more.
• Expect frequent changes in product availability. Seasonal shifts and differences in farmers’ abilities to ship goods do not always allow fruits and vegetables to be shipped to stores.
• In the future, organic producers are looking into edible packaging. Although it sounds strange, some people agree that if all products are organic, that would be the best option. Only time will tell if this becomes the norm.
• Many people think that product packaging may rub off on the organic food. Of course, this is being researched and may be a key factor in companies changing the way they ship food. Because of a lack of studies and evidence on this matter, many people are choosing to safe rather than sorry and make sure they purchase organic foods in organic packaging.
• Few companies do guarantee that their food is also packaged organically. They do aim to use products that are “green,” or environmentally-friendly. Some containers may include recycled materials, biodegradable elements, and reusable shipping items. The most common are paper bags and recycled plastic or boxes.
• Some of the easiest ways that people can go green include packaging options. Right in their own homes, people can bring water in reusable containers instead of buying plastic ones from the store. Although not considered organic, many find that this better for the environment.
• Pure foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that other foods may not. For healthy growth and development, parents should begin looking for products that are packaged organically as well, since there may be links between inorganic packaging and food contamination.
*Image provided by Camelbak.*