It seemed like in the past only high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods carried a large variety of organic foods. But now even stores like Walmart and Target have an organic section. This is good news because it you haven’t noticed organic food tends to be much more expensive!
A new report was released by the Department of Agriculture, stating that organic eggs, milk and salad greens can cost up to 60 percent more, while items like apples, carrots, granola and spinach carry premiums of between 7 and 30 percent.
When you go to the grocery store and see such a large difference in price and often times the produce looks the same…which should you buy? Learn the facts before you shop!
What even does organic mean?
According to the USDA, organic produce must be grown without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms. Organic meat has to come from animals that were raised in a natural setting, didn’t receive any antibiotics or hormones, and were fed 100 percent organic feed.The USDA has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.
If a food contains a USDA Organic label, it means it’s produced and processed according to the USDA standards. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it.
Products certified 95 percent or more organic may display this USDA seal.
Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal.
Is organic really healthier?
According to The Mayo Clinic, “A recent study examined the past 50 years’ worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are not significantly different in their nutrient content.
However many people chose to buy organic in order to decrease their exposure to pesticides and food additives, which some say have been linked to all kinds of health conditions, from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and birth defects.
It is recommended regardless of what you chose to buy, that you keep these tips in mind:
Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible- To get the freshest produce.
Read food labels carefully– Just because a product (often packaged food) says “organic” doesn’t always make it healthy.
Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water– You can also peel your produce, but this may decrease the fiber and nutrient content.
The EWG released their recommended shopping list, where they tested thousands of produce samples in order to determine which contained the least and most pesticide residue. Below are the Dirty Dozen (highest levels of pesticides) and the Clean Fifteen (lowest levels of pesticides).
The Dirty Dozen:
10. Sweet bell peppers
11. Cherry tomatoes
The Clean Fifteen:
2. Sweet Corn
5. Sweet peas frozen
12. Honeydew Melon
Do you shop organic? Why or why not?