If you’re confused about what organic food is and why it may be beneficial, you’re not alone!  Today we’ll talk about what organic means in terms of fruits and vegetables.  Meat, packaged foods, and beauty products are also sometimes labeled organic, but they’re a little bit different so we’ll talk about them another time.

According to the USDA, organic foods are grown:
  • Without using most conventional pesticides (there are still certain ones that are allowed in small amounts)
  • Without fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewer sludge
  • With no bioengineering
  • With no exposure to ionizing radiation

In order to achieve USDA organic certification farms are also required to emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water.  Food from a certified organic farm may have this USDA label on it:

A number of studies have shown that organic foods are richer in various nutrients and antioxidants.  It makes sense that food that is grown without bug spray, sewer sludge, genetic modification, and radiation would be better for us.  I can always tell when I slice into an organic onion that it’s rich in those sulfuric compounds that make me cry!

On the other hand, when cost is an issue- conventional produce is better than no produce at all.  Sometimes local organic asparagus costs $7.99 per pound and I don’t feel like taking out a loan before I go to the grocery store, so I buy conventional and it’s not the end of the world.

Some foods are more affected by pesticides than others.  For a list of which foods are best bought organic, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list.

If you've got 90 minutes and would like to learn more about conventional vs organic foods watch The Future of Food here.

9/30/2012 03:09:10 pm

I am interested in reading about more of the similar topics and would like to have further information on the same subject. Hope to see the next blog soon. Thanks and more power. - Brian

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