You’re at the grocery store and see two of all types of produce. There’s either ‘conventional’ or ‘organic’. So you stand there in the store trying to decide if it’s worth it to spend the extra money on organic.
Some claim that you should only eat organic food. Others say it doesn’t matter. And what does organic really mean anyway?
Today’s post will focus on what the organic label means and my next post will discuss whether or not you should spend the extra money on organic foods for their health benefits.
Organic Food Facts
Here are some facts about organic food from the National Organic Program:
- Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable
resources and the conservation of soil and water.
- Organic meat,
poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no
antibiotics or growth hormones.
- Organic food is produced without using
most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic
ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
- Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved
certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the
farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic
- Companies that handle or process organic food before it
gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must also be certified.
- Products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients.
- Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt).
- Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”.
The US government monitors the organic label. It can be an expensive process for the farmer’s to go through in order to be able to make the organic claim. Therefore, many smaller farms that you might find in your area cannot afford to get the official organic claim.
If you shop at farmer’s markets or coop where you can talk to the farmer, they can tell you if they use organic farm practices.
In the next post, I will discuss the foods to buy organic and the potential health benefits to organic foods.
Shop aware, and read those labels!