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In this modern era, people are more informed about their surroundings and the market. Through the internet, they can get A to Z information about anything they like. This makes the market and its products very transparent. No one can fool the customers now and there is a medium for everyone to be heard. Due to this, people over the years have realized that the food they have been eating grows with the help of chemicals and pesticides which are not good for health. Moreover, people have been increasingly alarmed about the malpractices that goes into producing spices.
Spices are widely used in India and are an integral part of the Indian cuisine. Due to high demand, adulterated spices are sold which fail to provide us proper nutrition and benefits.
Some of the major criticisms for conventional spices are:
Many unfair and unethical trade practices take place to gain more profit in selling the bulk produced stock of spices. One of them is to add harmful and artificial colours and flavours to the spices to reduce the cost of production. High-demand spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder are adulterated with food colouring, corn starch, sawdust, brick powder, lead chromate etc,. These adulterated products are sold at a low cost but their quality is extremely low. These harsh colours and chemicals affect our health and disrupt the normal functioning of our body.
The raw spice powders are processed further and packed duly before they reach the markets. To make the process easier, standardized, and low cost, many spice manufacturers used chemicals for processing the spices. For example:- During the processing, anti-clumping agents are used to avoid the formation of clumps in the spices. However, these are harmful chemicals like calcium silicate, silicon dioxide etc., that can severely affect our health. This proves that just because the final product looks goods doesn't mean that it is healthy for consumption.
Unprocessed and raw spice powders do have microorganisms in them which need to be removed. Because of the heavy demand and bulk production to cut down costs, conventional manufacturers use harmful methods to sterilize the spices. While fumigation uses harmful chemicals that not just destroy the microorganisms but are also harmful to human health, irradiation uses electromagnetic radiation to kill microbes. This radiation has several negative effects on the nutrition profile of the spices. Methods like these that are intended to make the unprocessed powders edible for us harm us even more.
Before the processing and packaging, what differentiates organic and conventional spices on a basic level is the method of growing spices. Organic products are a by-product of organic crops that are grown through organic farming. Conventional farming uses pesticides and fertilizers to grow crops. These chemicals harm the crops and reduce their nutrition level. So before even the processing begins, crops are subjected to harsh chemicals that hinder their quality. To grow more produce, fertilizers are used but in turn, they damage the land and drain its fertility.
On the other hand, there has been an emerging market for organic spices. These spices are grown and processed naturally. They are 100% pure and do not contain any adulteration.
Some of the major benefits of organic spices are:
Organic spices are grown in a natural way. These crops are not prone to chemicals, pesticides, and insecticides. To make sure that the spices grow well, organic manure is added as a natural fertilizer.
Farmers cultivate spices using a completely natural process and no sort of chemicals are used to enhance the growth of the crops. Organic spices are wholesome, Non-GMO, and free of insecticides and pesticides. The shine and colour of organic spices may lack but that's because they haven't been artificially enhanced.
Organic spices are not only cultivated but even processed organically. Conventionally, raw spices are processed with chemicals and preservatives before they hit the shelves. Organic spices do not have any preservatives added to them. No added colour or chemical is used to increase the shelf life or longevity of the spices. Special care and attention are given to the spices so that microorganisms do not harm them. A great amount of time and investment goes into making sure that spices have a good shelf life naturally.
Sterilization is a process in which microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses are destroyed so that they do not harm the product. Conventionally a great amount of harsh and harmful chemicals are used to sterilize the spices. However, organic spices used natural and unharmful sterilization processes like steaming. Through steaming, the microbes get killed but the nutritions of the spices stay intact and spices do not get prone to chemicals that can eventually affect and harm our body.
Steaming is an age-old sterilization process where nothing but plain water is used.
Organic spices offer both quality and assurance. Only certified organic farmers can sell organic labeled products and these certifications are offered by the government itself. Hence, these certifications assure us that the products have truly gone through the organic process and are completely natural. Certificates like USDA organic and India organic allow the sellers to claim their goods as organic and pure. This quality check helps the people to differentiate between high quality and natural spices over low quality adulterated spices.
With the shift in consumer trend over a healthy lifestyle, customers have been conscious about what they are eating, where does it come from, and how it has been grown and processed. While we may not be fully aware of all the types of chemicals used in non-organic spices, we are now aware that they are dangerous to our health. So why not should we choose organic spices that are of high quality, natural, and certified.
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