Should I Buy Organic? From Menu Notes
There is so much in the news about organic versus non-organic foods. How are you supposed to know what to do?
Organic foods, by law, have to meet these definitions:
- Certified organic animal foods are produced from animals that are not given any hormones or antibiotics.
- Organic plants foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers made with manufactured components, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
Are organic foods more nutritious?
No, they are not. The vitamin and minerals content of fruits and vegetables, whether organic or not, are the same!
Why do some people buy organic foods?
The two main reasons are because of the environment and health. People are worried about the chemicals used in traditional food production. Some people believe that organic food tastes different than conventional food, but that has not been proven by any studies or surveys.
Organic foods do not have additives. They don’t use things such as artificial sweeteners and food coloring.
Studies done on pesticide residues show that organic foods do have less pesticide content. However, neither organic or non-organic have pesticides above recommended levels.
Concerns with buying organic?
The most common concern with buying organic is the cost. They usually cost more than traditionally grown foods. They also may spoil faster since they aren’t coated with waxes or preservatives. Some organic produce may look “different” from what you are used to, however they aren’t really any different as far as quality.
Tips to remember whether you buy organic or not.
- Eat a variety of foods from different sources –Often local farmers try to limit pesticides- they eat the food too! You will also get a better mix of nutrients and reduce your chance of exposure to a single pesticide by varying who you buy them from.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season when possible. To get the freshest produce, ask your grocer what day new produce arrives. Or check your local farmers market.
- Read food labels carefully. Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients does not necessarily mean it is a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories.
- Wash and scrub fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Washing helps remove dirt, bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget foods like watermelon and cantaloupe need the rind washed prior to cutting. Not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing, though. You can also peel fruits and vegetables, but peeling can mean losing some fiber and nutrients.
List of those organic foods known to have the highest pesticide content you may want to consider:
Strawberries, Spinach, Peaches, Celery, Apricots, Grapes (Chile), Pears, Potatoes (US), Bell Peppers, Cherries (US), Cantaloupe (Mexico), Apples, Green Beans, Cucumbers, and Winter Squash (US).