I was chatting with one of my friends in Australia about turmeric when she mentioned that she has just bought some organic turmeric for a herbal company there. I was quick to ask how does she know its “actually” organic. She was confused.
This is the case with most people falling under the trap of an “organic” product including turmeric. Before you go ahead and pay premium for an “organic” turmeric powder / supplement it is important to know what makes your turmeric organic and what you need to take care to ensure you are buying genuine organic turmeric.
What is organic turmeric?
Well the answer to this is simple, any turmeric which is grown not using any artificial pesticides, manure etc. Organic farming of turmeric will rely on natural manures such as compost etc. and biological pest control methods rather than spraying harmful pesticides which somehow enter in our body causing various health issues.
Organic farming rely on methods such as crop rotation, salinity control of soil, predatory beneficial insects, turning soil after crops etc. to make sure crop is weed free but without pesticides. Similarly the manure is also natural. An organic farm will use green manure or compost to make the crop healthy.
As you can see the above tasks are not as easy to carry out in today’s world of easily accessible chemical pesticides and manures. Thus, organic products are expensive then the non-organic ones.
How to identify genuine organic turmeric?
This one is a critical step in buying right turmeric product. How to identify a genuine organic turmeric brand? What do we do when we buy other products say a baby bottle, we look for has it cleared independent quality standards or not. The same is the case with organic turmeric too. The easiest thing you should be doing is to see if the product you plan to buy has been certified as “organic” by a known and reputed third party agency. For example in the US. Any product which is genuinely organic gets a USDA certification. When USDA certifies this the producer can put a mark like the one in right on its product which can assure you it’s tested.
Similarly, there are independent agencies in other countries who will do this work for example, in Australia, there are several bodies which can give this certification including – Australian Certified Organic, NASAA Certified Organic, etc. So, when you buy your organic turmeric in Australia next time see if it is certified. If not – it’s most likely not to be organic (I am coming to this case soon). If it is – check which institute the certification is. The certification institute reputation matters as much as the certification itself!
There may be some cases when the product may not be certified but still be organic and you can buy it. How? Because it is grown in front of you. If you source your organic products from a person who grows it in his farm near you it is very easy to just drop in and check.
Other important but simple ways to identify a good turmeric product
Apart from checking out “organic” certification from reputed agencies there are other aspects too which you should consider while buying your organic turmeric. Here are some other tips:
- Avoid powder and supplement which have additives and fillers in them.
- Avoid supplements which have magnesium stearate (also known as stearic acid) in them. It is potentially toxic.
- According to Dr. Mercola another harmful ingredient which may be present especially in turmeric supplements is Dibasic Calcium Phosphate (DCP).
- The capsule should be vegetable based. It is best to avoid a gelatin-based one as much as you can.
- It is great if your producer can meet international standards set for food safety:
- Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- ISO certifications for quality, safety and other important qualities
- Kosher Food Certification
So the key thing to buy a great organic turmeric is to pay attention on all the above important aspects, most important being organic certification from a reputed agency in of country. This may mean that most of the brands you are buying right now will not qualify the tests. But it is fine. The motive for taking organic turmeric is to get best out of this amazing spice. There is no point settling for second best here even though you may have to shell out a few more $. After all health is wealth! 🙂