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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Organic Foods--Are They Worth the Cost?

Organic foods are in grocery stores everywhere now. They generally look the same as other foods but cost more. What are organic foods and why are they more expensive?

Traditional foods are grown by farmers who use chemicals to fertilize and control weeds. This process includes growing of fruits, vegetables, grain products, dairy products and meat. However, people are becoming more knowledgeable as well as concerned about what is in their food. Organic food farmers avoid chemicals and use, instead, natural substances during the growing process.

For example, organic farmers will use manure instead of chemicals for fertilizer, use natural and environmentally safe products for pest and weed control, and feed their livestock with organically-grown feed rather than giving them medications and antibiotics to keep them healthy. The differences in the way organic foods are grown and processed are often more labor-intensive and thus more costly.

There are two levels of organic foods. One is 100 percent, and the other is 95 percent organic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In both cases, the foods can use the USDA organic seal on their products. The only difference between the two is that foods that are 100 percent organic can use the phrase "100 Percent Organic" on their foods, while those whose products are at least 95 percent organic are only allowed to use the phrase "Organic."

Foods that contain only 70 percent organic ingredients cannot use the USDA organic seal on their products, but they are allowed to use the statement "made with organic ingredients" on their food products. These standards are all developed and controlled by the USDA. In addition, only organic foods that follow USDA standards can be labeled organic. This does not include foods that are advertised as natural, or all natural.

Are organic foods better? Yes. If you are concerned about ingesting chemical pesticides and all the additives that are included in foods that help preserve them, organic foods are a good choice.

DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.