Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trim Down Tip

Organic?


Going to the grocery store can be overwhelming. There are new items on the shelves every single day. How do you know which to purchase and which to stay away from? Today, I'm thinking I'll stick to a very basic question many people ask me...organic or non-organic?


According to the USDA, organic meat, poultry, eggs, fruit, vegetables and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones and are produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; or ionizing radiation. Organic standards do not address food quality. 


Another major grip of consumers...the high cost of organic food. It is a valid argument, however there are reasons for the higher price tag. Organic farming practices cost more than conventional farming methods. Plus, government regulations required for organic certification, including certification costs, labor hours and shipping prices, add to high costs.


There is no research stating that organic food is a healthier choice. That being said, there are certain foods that when farmed with conventional techniques tend to have higher pesticide levels. Check out this list for the best and worst of non-organic foods. Purchasing the "worst" foods as organic can help to reduce your pesticide intake. 


My take? If your wallet can handle it, buy organic produce on the "worst" list. There is something to be said about choosing organic meat, poultry and dairy as well. It's my first choice--but again, it's pricey. I also buy mostly organic baby food for my daughter. My theory is it can't be healthy to give lots of additives to a developing baby. Again, my personal choice. Other than that--organic packaged food can be a waste of money. But, if you like it? Go for it.  It really is a personal preference. 

1 comment:

  1. i just wrote a long response and it got erased. AUGH.

    will try again.

    i also like to consider when faced with this decision what the impact will be on the source from where the food came...the earth. conventional farming methods have been shown to deplete the nutrients from the soil, making it more difficult year after year to grow a successful crop. additionally, many studies have shown that organic, smaller, and 'old fashioned' farming methods (ie crop rotation) add nutrients back into the soil, and allow productive crops to continue growing for a longer period of time. Additionally, these farmers report much less of a problem with insects and other pests that conventional farmers are battling with constantly. I do think it is dumb to buy plastic wrapped produce from Chile just because it is labeled "organic" but when talking about locally and carefully grown food the price is well worth it. I want my children and grandchildren to have the opportunity to bite into a just-off-the- vine heirloom tomato - with the way conventional farming works, especially with a few companies owning all the seeds and pesticides for those seeds, there isnt room for variety. Many types of produce have been eradicated as a result of conventional farming...for long term success, variety is a necessity. I believe it is incredibly important for the health of our food source to support the farmers who are working with the organic method. (many small farmers are organic even though they may not be labeled as such...)

    thank you for bringing up this issue. a hot topic, i'm sure.

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