Over the past few decades, the popularity and pervasiveness of organic foods have skyrocketed. Organic foods are dietary staples—and they are here to stay. In fact, on average 82% of American households purchase organic products and once consumers “go organic,” it is very rare for them to go back. But what exactly does it mean to be organic? And what does the organic movement have to do with your restaurant?
What is Organic Anyway?
To be labeled as organic, food must be grown and processed according to special federal guidelines. Produce must be grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and bioengineered genes (GMOs) for three years prior to harvest. Likewise, organic animal-based products require that animals are fed only organic food, not administered antibiotics or hormones, and live in an environment that accommodates their natural behaviors. These regulations are significant, as the process by which food is grown or raised has an impact on consumers, farmers, and the environment.
People are choosing organics over their conventionally-grown counterparts because they recognize this. Organic produce contains fewer pesticides, making it healthier for consumption. Organic farming is better for the environment, making it a more socially-conscious choice. And organic foods do not contain antibiotics or hormones, which help to combat widespread antibiotic resistance. All in all, eating organic is a smarter choice, but it’s by no means perfect.
Organic Products, Food Contamination, and You
Arguably, the main selling point of organic foods is the lack of pesticides. Numerous studies have confirmed that exposure to pesticides is directly linked with a range of serious illnesses and diseases, ranging from respiratory problems to cancer. However, pesticides exist for a reason: to keep out unwanted pests, including parasites and bacteria.
Organic foods are twice as sensitive as conventionally produced foods to bacterial contamination. The cause of this is unclear, but scientists hypothesize that the use of manure as fertilizer coupled with the growing demand for organic products is to blame. When manure is improperly composted, there is a risk that the bacteria will spread to the produce. Additionally, organic food is in high demand; If one farm improperly composts manure, then it can spread to nearby farms.
However, the percentage of foods (both organic and otherwise) that are recalled due to contamination is nominal. Organic food is still something that you should seriously consider adding to your restaurant. It has grown greatly in popularity, it can be profitable, it is an environmentally responsible choice, and it can help give your brand a more sustainable mindset. You should not avoid it out of concern for food safety.
In the event of something going wrong, you should have a safety net to fall back on. Although most business owners policies fail to cover food contamination, good restaurant insurance should — we do. Help us help you. Contact us here, and we will make sure you are covered.