USDA and UK Ministry of Agriculture statistics show that food grown today has from 30 to 70 percent less nutritional value than the same foods grown 50 years ago. Eating all the right foods today still leaves us short of needed nutrition. Yes, we can and should supplement to help make up the shortfall, but the best way the get truly health-giving nutrition is via our food. Nutrients are assimilated better and give us better health if contained in the food in biologically complexed forms.
We would like to believe that "Certified Organic" delivers us better and more comprehensive nutrition. It may in about 20 percent of the cases and certainly "organic" promises a lower pesticide residue of modern pesticides. But "Certified Organic" is a procedural program,not an outcome program. Yes, there are some examples where "organic" products are nutritionally better than conventionally grown (Influence of organic diet on the amount of conjugated linoleic acids in breast milk of lactating women in the Netherlands, Rust L, Mueller A, et al, Research Department, Paracelsus Hospital Richterswil, Bergstrasse 16, CH-8805 Richterswil, Switzerland.)
Outcome is really what counts and the outcome of importance in food is nutrient density and taste. This means actual levels of all the nutrients necessary for human and animal health. With higher nutrient levels, foods taste better, look better, store better, ship better and are proven better for us. To this end after years of work we have formed an independent certification organization called BYO, Beyond Organix in Fresno, California with partners Stan Kadota, Mark and Ted Nakata. The BYO Seal of Quality will not be a replacement for "Certified Organic" or any other label. It is a stamp of documented provable nutritional value of the food, a Seal anyone can get added to their label if their food meets the standard. Keep in mind, as the nutrient value of the food increases, by default we automatically address the pesticide residue issue, the environmental issues, green house gas issue, sustainability of family farms and fair trade issues.
We first will start with brix. The brix is a measurement of dissolved solids and sugars measured with a refractometer. The higher the brix reading the sweeter will be the product. Once a minimum brix is achieved, the produce qualifies for specific nutrient testing. Our initial standards will be 1940 USDA nutrient levels. Once achieved, the food commodity will get the BYO Seal of Quality added to its label.
Initially, BYO fresh foods will only be available in selected small store chains because we only have a very limited supply of such superior quality product and the small store chains cater to the more discerning shoppers starting in Northern California and NW US/Canada. Our intent is to take BYO internationally beginning in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and UK. We are also working on a similar program for dairy and beef. No genetically engineered products will be allowed.
It is a certification whose time has come. Consumers vote daily with their food dollars and the votes say "give me better quality food." BYO's website will be up soon.