Most people today are becoming aware of harmful toxins in our environment and in our children’s toys and clothes. Yes, those concerns are valid but we need to take another look at what we are feeding our bodies. The chemicals and artificial hormones in our foods may have an impact on our health.

What is Organic Food?

Theoretically all plants and animals all contain carbon which makes them classified as “organic”. What we are concerned with today, is organically grown or produced food. These foods generally are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones.

For produce to be labeled as organic, they cannot be genetically engineered or use food irradiation (to destroy foodborne organisms). Organic farmers may use insects or chemicals naturally found in the environment such as copper, nicotine or sulfur as pesticides. Sometimes these do not work so farmers can use other substances approved by the National Organic Program of the U.S. Department of agriculture.

In order for our meats, eggs and cheese to be organic, animals are fed only 100% organic feed, they must have outdoor access, and be treated humanely. Hormones and antibiotics are not allowed to be given to livestock and poultry but vitamin and mineral supplements are allowed.

How do I know if my food is organic?

Organically grown foods used to only be available in health food stores but are now becoming mainstream which are available in our typical grocery stores. Produce and fruits usually have a sticker on them that label it as organic. For meats and packaged foods it will bear the USDA Organic seal. In order to have this seal on the food item, it must be 100% certified organic besides water and salt.

Are there benefits to eating organically grown produce and meat?

There are mixed results from studies on the flavor and nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown produce. Most studies state that there is no difference, and that differences could be related to growing conditions and maturity at harvest time.

The Organic Center and professors from the University of Florida Department of Horticulture and Washington State University provides evidence that organic foods contain, on average, 25 percent higher concentration of 11 nutrients than their conventional counterparts. Also, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that consuming organic products may lower children's exposure to potentially damaging pesticides.

What changes can I make to help my family grow healthy?

Eating an all exclusive organic diet can cost a lot more than conventionally grown foods. In the future costs of organic foods may decrease as organic farmers develop more cost efficient techniques to yield larger quantities of food.
  • Purchase Certified Organic foods
  • If cost is an issue, look for fruits and vegetables that are pesticide free and choose meat and poultry that that are not given hormones or treated with antibiotics. (these are not certified organic)
  • Support locally grown produce and farmers markets