If you’re looking to minimize your exposure to pesticides and artificial hormones, organic is the way to go. But in a sea of shelves flooded with products, how do you know that what you are buying is actually organic? It’s simple. All you need to do is learn to decode the packaging and percentages. With this cheat sheet, you’ll find out how you can shop smart for organic food and get the most for your money.
What does organic mean?
Before products can be labeled as USDA organic, they must be certified by a USDA-accredited agent. According to the USDA, here’s what an organic seal means for…
Crops: No irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were used to produce the crops.
Livestock: In raising animals, producers “met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.” While this applies to land animals, keep in mind that there is currently no such thing as USDA certified organic fish.
Multi-ingredient foods: The product has been verified to contain “95% or more certified organic content.” Any ingredients that are specifically identified on the label as organic have been certified as such.
Keep in mind that some foods, particularly from local or small farmers, may be produced using organic standards but have not been officially certified as organic.
How do I know if what I’m buying is organic?
Most organic food is labeled with a green USDA organic seal, which certifies that it has 95% or more organic content.
For a food to be labeled 100% organic, all ingredients, including processing aids, have to be certified as organic.
Foods that say they are made “with organic ingredients” must be made up of at least 70% certified organic ingredients. The remaining ingredients do not need to be organically produced, but they can’t be made using certain methods.
One trick to use on loose fruits and vegetables is to check out the price look up (PLU) sticker. Organic products are more likely to have a five-digit code beginning with a nine, as opposed to four digits for most conventionally-grown produce.
Is organic food more expensive?
Organic foods are often, but not always, slightly more expensive than their conventional counterparts. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from 20% more to double the price for organic foods because they often cost more to produce. However, some organic foods like bread or coffee may actually cost the same or even less, so be sure to price check before writing off an organic choice.
Gardening Time….just around the corner!!
When organic items are not easily found in stores, growing your own garden or having garden pots if you live in a very small space growing on a deck or indoors in front of a sunny window or garden door (such as herbs, green onions, sprouts of various varieties, etc). One word of caution if you choose not to eat GMO’s remember that includes buying organic seed. Organic seed can reproduce as nature intended but GMO seed will not. Seedless fruits & vegetables are genetically modified, I no longer complain when I have to pick out numerous seeds from my fruits!! Locally grown produce at Farmer’s markets are a fresher more nutrient option versus store bought. It sometimes takes days to arrive at our stores, stored again then we purchase them to store them for days in our fridges…how much goodness is left? Just do the best you can and choose wisely.
- I have purchased organic seeds from my local area such as Superstore & Peavy Mart & seeing more & more items come available. Also organic sprouting seeds (check out my website for pictures of the sprouts I grow in my kitchen all year long).
- Just stumbled onto this bread…very excited with the product as well as their very informative website. This is a Canadian made product using local farmers in Alberta & Saskatchewan. There is very short informative videos explaining all ingredients, also introducing you to these farmers as they explain the crops they grow. You may even know who they are! Please checkout their website http://www.onedegreeorganics.com Must say I am VERY impressed with everything about this family based company and I am sure our Great Great Grandparents would be also as the ingredients are what they would recognize. Real, Untampered, Natural Foods made from grower to our kitchen tables NOT a science experiment from a LAB ( which unfortunately is a high percentage of our food chain these days). Our Health & our Lifestyle is a personal choice…I just choose not to be a LAB RAT!! Creation has served my past generations well and I choose to continue on that path.
- I have DVD’s explaining the dangers of GMO’s, the hidden truths, increasing health issues & growing numbers,etc. Please contact me if you, your family or organization wants to borrow them FREE of charge. The more we know the more we can make educated decisions about the health of us & our families. Helping our future generations live a happier, healthier life….very Simply!