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MYTH #5: YOU'RE SUPPORTING SMALL FARMS OR ECO-COMPANIES.

General Mills owns the Cascadian Farms brand, Kraft owns Back to Nature and Boca Burger, and Kellogg's owns Morningstar Farms, to name a few conglomerates basking in organics' glow (and dough). And with such high demand (in the past year, the market for organic milk outstripped the supply by 10 percent), these giant companies are importing organic ingredients as cheaply as possible — often from other countries. Whole Foods sold roughly $1 billion in produce last year; only about 16 percent was locally grown. So with all the CO2 spent in transport, some organics have questionable eco-virtues.

MYTH #6: IT'S BETTER FOR YOU.

Not if it's organic chips, organic soda, or organic cookies. Cane sugar is still sugar and fried chips are still fried, no matter what kind of compost was or wasn't heaped onto the potatoes. Sorry!

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT ORGANIC FOOD

IT'S MORE HUMANE.
Much of the country's organic milk and meat comes from small farms, where animals are often given more space to roam than those at larger factory farms.

IT MAY REDUCE YOUR RISK OF GETTING MAD COW.
Organic meat can't have any animal by-products in its feed, which is a primary contributor to mad-cow disease.

IT'S GETTING EASIER.
Companies like Kellogg's and Kraft are rolling out organic versions of their cereals and mac and cheese, so it's hassle-free to convince kids and boyfriends to eat it. And with discount superchains like Wal-Mart (the country's number-one seller of organic milk) slashing the organic markup to 10 percent (it's usually 20 to 30 percent), organics aren't just for the Whole Foods elite.

HOW "ORGANIC" IS IT?
Products labeled "organic" must consist of 95 percent organically produced ingredients, but products that contain only 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase "Made with organic ingredients." Read carefully.

Originally published on: March 21, 2008


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