Going Organic at the Grocery Store

In the quest to get the healthiest, most nutritious food to fuel our families, many people want to buy the foods that are healthier and purer by buying food that is organic. These foods are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically engineered ingredients.

As for the environment, organic farming helps keep the air, soil, and water clean and natural by not using synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Green and organic are both becoming quite universal concepts in this day and age.

The word “organic” refers to the way agricultural products and foods are grown and processed. Organic food production is based upon a farming system that maintains and replenishes the natural soil without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers. It’s based upon a completely natural way of working with nature and the environment.

By eating organic foods, you limit your exposure to dangerous chemicals, synthetic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. In addition you also limit your intake of growth hormones and antibiotics, because organic meat and dairy farmers are prohibited from using hormones and antibiotics. Genetically modified foods are also prohibited from carrying the “organic” label.

On October 21, 2002, the U.S.D.A. put into effect the national organic standards ensuring consistency for all organic products marketed in the United States. Along with the new standards, there are strict labeling rules to help the consumer know the exact organic content of the food they see on the shelf. The “USDA Organic” seal helps you find products that contain at least 95 percent certified organic ingredients.

There are four labeling categories to look for when purchasing organic products as a consumer:

· “100 percent Organic”. All of the product’s content is certified to be organic. These products may display the USDA Organic seal on the label.

· “Organic”. At least 95% of the product’s content is certified organic. These products may also display the seal but may contain some minor ingredients that are not certified as organic.

· “Made with Organic ingredients”. At least 70% of the product’s contents are certified Organic.

· Products containing less than 70% Organic contents can only identify the organic ingredients on the ingredient listing on the label.

There are a few grocery stores that have been “certified organic”. These stores have taken rigorous steps because to be “certified organic” requires extensive research, planning and commitment to the way that the food is transported, stored and sold.