Organic Foods - Overview
Although organic food can cost more, you may be able to
save money by shopping around.
You may be better off buying from
local farms and ranches, whether they're certified organic or not. Many small
farms use organic methods but cannot afford to become certified. Food from
local farms is also likely to be fresher, which means it will taste better and
may even cost less. Visit farmers' markets to find locally grown food.
What do you need to know about organic food?
More and more organic foods are showing up in the
produce aisles of local grocery stores. It can be confusing to know when to buy
organic versions of your favorite foods. Many people buy organic food because they are worried
about the environment. And many people buy organic food to avoid chemicals, especially
pesticides, in their food.
You may have these questions about
- Is it safer?
Foods with the organic label have much less pesticide residue compared with most nonorganic foods. Foods grown with pesticides can have small
amounts of pesticide left on the food when it gets to the store. Studies have
shown that being exposed to large amounts of pesticides can cause harm. But
they have not shown that the amounts of pesticides left on most nonorganic foods are
enough to cause harm.
- Is it more nutritious? There is not
enough evidence to say that organic food is more nutritious than nonorganic
- Is it better for children? Children
may be more sensitive to pesticides because they are still growing. And they
eat more food for their weight than adults do. Products such as organic milk
and organic baby food can be good choices for your peace of
- Does it taste better? There is no
evidence that organic food tastes better just because it's organic. But organic
food is usually fresher, because it doesn't contain preservatives and it needs
to be eaten sooner. Fresher food usually tastes better.
- Is it better for the environment? In general, yes. Many organic farmers and ranchers
work to conserve water and soil. Pesticides can kill birds and small animals
and make it hard for them to reproduce, so using less of these toxic chemicals
is good for the environment.
- Is it better for animals? Maybe, but conditions vary. For example, organic ranchers must
let their cattle graze in open pastures. But some ranchers do that only part of
the time, confining the animals to corrals the rest of the time.
How can you avoid pesticides on your food?
You can avoid pesticides by buying organic food. But
organic food can be hard to find, and it often costs more.
are worried about pesticides but want to save money, you could buy organic
versions of only the foods you eat most often. Or you could buy organic
versions of only those foods that have the most pesticides when grown on