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Which organic foods should you choose?

Created date

May 21st, 2013
Which organic foods should you choose?

When deciding which organic foods to eat, there are some important things to know.

Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy products are from animals that haven’t been given hormones or antibiotics.

Farms are inspected by the government to qualify for the USDA organic seal, but use of this seal is strictly voluntary. Don’t assume foods that claim they are “natural,” “free range,” or “hormone-free” are necessarily organic. They must also have an organic label.

Organic’s challenges

If you’re trying to save money, eating organically can be a challenge. Organic food farmers use renewable resources and conserve soil and water to protect the environment. These practices can be expensive to implement, and that’s one of the reasons organic food oftentimes costs more than nonorganic food. You might be able to save some money by purchasing fruits and vegetables when they are in season and shopping around a bit for better prices. Farmer’s markets are usually a good bet.

If you like your produce to last a long time, buying organic may not be the way to go. Because they are not treated with preservatives or wax, some things may spoil faster. They also might be dirtier or come in odd shapes, colors, or sizes, but that doesn’t mean an item is defective. Organic foods meet the same quality and safety rules that apply to conventional food.

What about organic fish? Although Europe sells organic seafood, you won’t find organic fish from the U.S. at many seafood counters just yet. Organic does not mean wild caught. The problem is creating sustainable farming practices for fish farms. Most of the problem has to do with what the fish are fed. They are naturally foragers, and therefore, their diets cannot be completely controlled. They could, after all, be eating other fish or plants that have been exposed to toxins or pesticides. Fish farmers in the U.S. are working to solve these problems, so soon you might be able to purchase local organic seafood.