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Guide to Organic & Wholefood Terminology | Glossary

January 25, 2017 Honest to Goodness

Confused by all the different terminology surrounding organic and whole food products? Our guide below will help you understand some of the most common terms.

ORGANIC produce is grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilisers, food irradiation or genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

ORGANIC IN-CONVERSION refers to produce that comes from an organic farm that is currently undergoing the three-year certification process. After 12 months of using organic farming methods, the product can be labelled organic in-conversion. This means the farm has been audited at least once and is abiding by all necessary requirements.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC products have passed the stringent requirements of a 3-year certification process, ensuring integrity for the consumer. Standards to achieve certification is internationally recognised, and is assured through annual audits of all certified operators by an independent third-party auditor.

Organic Terminology Certified

is an advanced, organic growing method where no artificial fertilisers or chemical sprays are used. The plant is seen in a holistic context where the influences of soil, water (in both soil and atmosphere), light, warmth and the cosmos (sun, moon, planets) are all taken into account and consciously balanced.

BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that is been used to make certain plastics and resins. It is often used in the lining of some food and beverage packaging to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life.

CONVENTIONAL produce is grown and handled with regular commercial methods which may include the use of synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilisers, food irradiation and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). The Honest to Goodness range of conventional products is carefully selected under strict criteria to ensure we always offer pure and simple products that have had minimal processing and contain nothing artificial.

FAIRTRADE is a certification initiative which advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries.

GMO: Genetic Modified (GM) or Genetic Engineering (GE) involves taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to transfer a desired trait or characteristic. The product created is referred to as a genetically modified organism (GMO). GMOs are prohibited at every stage of organic food production. When buying certified organic or biodynamic products you can be assured that the product is GMO-free.

Organic Terminology GMO

GLUTEN is a composite of proteins found in grains such as wheat, spelt and barley. Some people have allergies or intolerances to gluten which can cause upset to the digestive system.

HEALTHY FATS include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help the cholesterol balance in your blood by decreasing the bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. Replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier ones helps to lower your risk of heart disease - Heart Foundation

 A substance used to kill insects.

OMEGA 3 & 6 | FATTY ACIDS: Omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are not be naturally produced by the human body and therefore needs to be consumed from food. The omegas are a crucial part of human cell membranes and are referred to as "essential".

PESTICIDE: A substance used to kill insects and other pests.

Organic Terminology Pesticides


PLANT-BASED foods are derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruit.

PRESERVATIVE: Substance added to food to prevent spoilage.

PREBIOTICS are undigestable plant fibres that feed and strengthen the probiotics (live bacteria).

PROBIOTICS are live bacteria and yeasts that live inside your gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are beneficial to your digestive system as they aid in digestion and work to balance the 'good' and 'bad' bacteria. 

SULPHUR also appears on food labels as numbers E220-228 and is used in some foods as a preservative to prevent the discolouration of foods such as dried fruits. Foods containing sulphur/sulphites can provoke asthma attacks and gastric irritation - New Zealand Food Safety

Organic Terminology Sustainability

SUSTAINABLE: Able to be maintained at a particular level without causing damage to the environment or depletion of the resource. It ensures that the needs of the current population are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

SUPERFOODS are typically considered to be extremely nutritious or beneficial to your overall health and wellness. Studies are now also developing links between superfoods and preventing disease.

WHOLEFOOD generally refers to foods that are minimally processed or refined.

Want to know more about Certified Organics? Head to our blog What is Certified Organic? >>

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