Many people are concerned about chemicals in or on the food they eat, so they are turning to organic foods or foods free of pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Use the following tips to reduce the chemicals in your diet.
To be sure that the food you're buying is chemical-free, look for the organic seal. It means that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has certified that the food contains no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, drugs, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- If a label has the seal and says "100% organic," all ingredients are organic. If the seal and the word "organic" are displayed, 95% or more of the ingredients are organic.
- Don't fall for the "natural" label. It isn't the same as organic. The USDA only controls this label for meat, poultry, and eggs. Even then it only means that the products are lightly processed and contain no artificial ingredients. It says nothing about the farm practices used to produce them.
- Be aware that most processed foods contain GMOs. If the label lists soybean oil, canola oil, soy flour, corn syrup, corn meal, cornstarch, sucrose, soy lecithin, or vegetable protein, the food was most likely made using GMOs.
If organic products aren't available, look for:
- Meat and poultry labeled "No antibiotics administered/USDA process certified." Labels such as "No antibiotics" or "Raised without antibiotics" may be accurate, but they haven't been verified by the USDA.
- Milk labeled "rBGH-free" or "rBST-free." This is the producer's promise that it doesn't contain these artificial hormones.
- Foods labeled "No GMOs." But understand that this labeling isn't regulated. In the U.S., buying organic is the best way to avoid GMOs.